As regular readers know, it seems that I go back and forth these days between bursts of creativity and big fat slumps. Last week I felt so dried out that I had to ask my husband what to make for dinner. What we ended up with was turkey burgers and pasta, because that's what he always wants for dinner.
It was Monday and I was dreading dinner because I wanted to make something good and most importantly, something original that I could make for the blog. Unforunately,my brain was not cooperating. I have such envy for people who are organized enough to know every meal they are going to make in a week. My plan was to just go to the store and see if anything in particular would inspire me or trigger a craving.
Since the beginning of the year I have been suffering from tendinitis in my knee and some worn cartilage. The pain was bad enough to send me to the doctor who put me on a physical therapy regimen. I've been spending my lunch hour for the past few weeks being prodded, massaged, lasered, and stretched in impossible ways while having to do torturous exercises at home. The end of each appointment is a merciful few minutes with an ice pack and a magazine to pass the time.
At the conclusion of Monday's session I pulled a random girly magazine off the rack and flipped through it while the ice did its thing. Right there in the magazine I had my answer. There was a new chicken recipe. The recipe had almonds and sherry and garlic and chicken breasts. I knew right then and there what I would make for dinner.
I read the recipe through, but I am a conscientious patient and I was not about the steal the magazine from the office, nor did I want to rip the recipe out and ruin the magazine for others. I would simply remember the recipe as best I could. Then I could take what I remembered and make the recipe my own.
I browned chicken breasts with lots of garlic, then I deglazed the pan with sherry and chicken broth, and then added the ground almonds to the pan.
Towards the end of the cooking time I was rudely interuppted by my building's fire alarm. I had to turn off the heat and leave my chicken on the stove for a while. I went down the stairs to find the entire first floor full of smoke and nearly bumped right into a fireman. It turns out my superintendent had a kitchen mishap and burned his food. No big emergency, but it was a big inconvenience. Kevin was coming home from work just as I was leaving the building for a breath of fresh air. He was not amused to be coming home to that.
The upshot is that my chicken absorbed a lot of the liquid and ended up having less of a "sauce" and more of a paste covered in flavored ground almonds on it. I think it still tasted pretty good. I would be happy to make this one again.
I served it with steamed broccoli that I tossed with olive oil infused with garlic and orange zest.
Chicken with Sherry Almond Sauce
4-6 bonelss, skinless chicken breast pieces
Flour for dredging
1 cup whole almonds
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp paprika
Few grinds black pepper
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1 cup chicken stock (or more if your sauce dries out a bit as mine did)
1/2 cup sherry
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl fresh time leaves
Heat oven to 300 degrees and spread almonds out on a baking sheet. Toast for about 15 minutes giving the sheet a shake now and then for even roasting. Finely grind the roasted almonds in a food processor.
Mix flour with salt, paprika and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces well - about 10 minutes per side.
Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with sherry and chicken stock. Stir in thyme, bay leave, and almonds. Add additional salt if desired. Return chicken to the pan and simmer on low for another 15 minutes or until cooked through.