lavender chicken breasts in Champagne sauce ~ with mushrooms
Time’s a wasting! Let me cut right to the chase. Would you like to put on the table a dinner that makes you feel like you just came out of Cordon Bleu with your own chef’s cap and apron? Would you like to set down a plate in front of someone you love with a proud little smirk on your face? Would you like to feel accomplished and loving all with one gorgeous dinner? You’ve got this one in the bag!
I want so badly to describe to you how lovely this dish is! Let me try, while the taste still lingers on my tongue. I’ve discovered that there’s something inexplicable about lavender in one’s mouth. In the right proportions, it’s neither a scent nor a taste, but somewhere smack dab in between the two. As my sweet husband and I sat eating our dinner tonight I was (so sorry honey) distracted trying to identify just where the lavender touched – and it was, honest to goodness, top of the palate where it borders the nose. Ok, you don’t care about that, and why should you?
This is what you want to know:
Lavender chicken in champagne sauce is one of the most exquisitely delicious chicken dishes I’ve ever prepared. I’ve made it several times now, and each time, the same. I can hardly stop sighing. And for a romantic dinner for two that’s an especially nice thing.
Lavender Chicken Breasts
in Champagne Sauce with Mushrooms
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary Provence lavender buds, finely ground in a spice grinder (see NOTE)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups thinly sliced small brown mushrooms
- ½ cup minced shallots
- ½ cup Champagne
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon concentrated chicken stock - optional (also known as Glace de Poulet Gold – Better than Boullon is one brand)
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Fresh thyme sprigs or lavender sprigs (optional)
NOTE on lavender: For culinary lavender, one good source (if you don’t find in the bulk tea section of your market, is Amazon.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the lemon juice, thyme and lavender. Let marinate for 20 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Brush the dust from the mushrooms and slice thinly. Dice the shallots. Set aside.
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, place the oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the chicken breasts and brown on each side, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
Add the mushrooms and the shallots to the skillet. Reduce the heat if necessary. As you stir frequently, the mushrooms will release their liquids and begin to loosen the good dark bits in the skillet. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Champagne, broth and chicken broth concentrate (if using.) Simmer for 10 minutes.
In a small cup or ramekin, mix the flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter. Whisk this into the skillet and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, only a couple minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer for about 15 minutes. Cooking times will be longer obviously for thicker portions. (Internal chicken temperature 160 – 165°F.) When ready to serve, scatter parsley and transfer to a warmed platter. Spoon the mushroom sauce over top and garnish with thyme or lavender sprigs if you like. Serve with Champagne (and kisses if appropriate.)
This recipe is another from the wonderful little book the Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley,
tweaked only slightly
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