Chicken Napoleon. The word “Napoleon” conjures up a number of mental images for me. Sure, the European warrior Napoleon is the first to come to mind. And what about that delicately layered pastry dessert called a Napoleon? My childhood babysitter’s pretty black and white paint horse was named Napoleon. To me, “Napoleon” means hearty, elegant, and grand.
My mother and father shared cooking responsibilities when I was growing up, and also taught me how to make some basic dishes. Mostly, Mom took care of the weekly evening meals and my daily breakfasts and lunches. Dad would cook dinners on the weekends. One of Dad’s most elegant dinner-party-type dishes is called Chicken Napoleon. And hearty, elegant, and grand, it is!
Dad’s Chicken Napoleon brings simple skinless and boneless chicken breasts, softly-sauteed shallots, tiny fresh tomato pieces, sliced fresh woody mushrooms, and a decadent cream sauce all together into a savory dish that is elegant enough to please ladies at a luncheon, and hearty and grand enough to please the gentlemen in your life.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Dad’s Chicken Napoleon
4 fresh thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 stick butter, divided in half
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 fresh shallots, finely chopped
3 fresh raw tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and very finely chopped
4 oz. fresh mushroom caps, sliced
1 c dry white wine, divided into 1/2 c portions
1 c heavy cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Remove tough tendons from chicken breasts, if not already removed.
2. Rub garlic over both sides of chicken breasts.
3. Mince the garlic and set aside.
4. Heat a 4 qt skillet or shallow saucepan over medium heat.
5. Add 2 T olive oil to pan.
6. When oil is warm, add half of the butter.
7. When butter is bubbling, add chicken breasts and brown chicken breasts on both sides.
8. When the chicken is almost cooked, add the garlic and cook until garlic is tender, being careful not to brown or burn the garlic.
9. Remove chicken breasts from pan and place on a plate. Cover with foil and keep warm.
10. Pour off the pan drippings and reserve. Discard any overly browned pieces from the drippings.
11. Using same pan, melt remaining butter.
12. Add onions and shallots and saute until translucent.
13. Add tomatoes, cook, and allow most of the moisture to evaporate.
14. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
15. When moisture is cooked out from the mixture, add half of the white wine and the reserved pan drippings.
16. Simmer and reduce the mixture by half over medium low heat.
17. Add the rest of the wine. Simmer and reduce again.
18. Stir in the cream.
19. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
20. Return the cooked chicken breasts to the pan and heat through until warmed.
Serves 4 as an elegant main course.
Serving suggestion: Dad usually served this dish as a main course with sides of wild rice and honey-candied carrots, a green salad to start, and a white Riesling wine to drink.
Variations: I like to serve the chicken and its sauce over a bed of buttered white basmati rice (as shown in top photo) as an option to Dad’s sides of wild rice and carrots. You can use turkey cutlets to lighten the dish. Use less butter if you wish. Cut the amount of cream in half and replace with chicken stock if you prefer a lighter sauce — add the chicken stock with the last 1/2 cup of white wine.
Note: I halved the recipe for my photos which resulted in a satisfying dinner for two.
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