Chicken Breasts Baked with Cheesy, Creamy Sherry Sauce (Palm Springs Chicken)

Chickens

Chickens

By Cat, Jan 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Poultry & Fowl Menu; 2. Chicken Breasts Baked with Camembert Sauce

Another name for this baked dish is Palm Springs Chicken (as named by Darlene Glantz Skees in her Best Friends, Etc. Cookbook (1)). I changed the name because I have made some modifications to her version. The dish is delicious and fairly simple to make; it makes a great presentation for a dinner party.

Leftover servings freeze well.

See also a related recipe for chicken breasts in a sauce, originally called Chicken with Cooleeney Sauce: Chicken Breasts Baked with Camembert Sauce (2).

Chicken Breasts Baked with Cheesy, Creamy Sherry Sauce (a.k.a. Palm Springs Chicken)

This recipe is adapted from the Best of Friends, Etc. Cookbook, by Darlene Glantz Skees.  The original recipe was written to serve a dinner party of 12. I’ve modified to serve 2, but this is an excellent, showy dish to serve for a dinner party.  I’ve also modified recipe to make more sauce, as that is the best part!

The original uses chicken breast meat, but it can also be made with thighs using 3 – 4 thighs to serve 2. Dark meat is being re-discovered, now that saturated fats are no longer seen as the enemy, and it has more flavor and moisture than breast meat, so does not need to be brined.

I like to serve this with Wild Rice with Cashews,*  braised asparagus or broccolini (or blanched, then topped with butter), and baked winter squash.

*Steamed Brown or White Rice is another option, but commercial rice – especially brown rice – is contaminated with arsenic from the synthetic fertilizers, so I no longer recommend these, at least not on a regular basis. Even Organic brown rice is contaminated. Wild rice (such as Wild & Brown Rice PilafWild Rice with Mushrooms & Cashews, or Steamed wild rice) or Bulgur pilaf  are better options.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 chicken breast halves, brined (bone-in, skin on; or boneless & skinless); or 4 thighs, brining optional
  • 1 Tbsp unbleached white flour
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt (omit if you brined the chicken)
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup homemade chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp Organic or non-GMO cornstarch or ½ tsp tapioca starch
  • ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream, divided
  • 2 – 4 tsp sherry
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
  • ½ cup grated Swiss or Irish cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • Equipment
  • bowl for brining
  • bowl for coating with flour mixture
  • cast iron skillet
  • oven-to-table baking dish

Method:

  1. Prep: Brine chicken in a salt brine for 30 minutes.  Remove from brine, rinse and drain, then pat dry.  Remove bones (reserve for making chicken stock another time).  You may leave skin on, or remove it. If chicken breasts are large, cut them in half, crosswise.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Grate ½ tsp zest and squeeze about 1 Tbsp juice from the lemon.  Set aside.
  4. Mix flour, salt (omit salt if you brined the chicken) and paprika in a bowl; lightly coat chicken with this mixture, after brining.
  5. Brown chicken: Heat olive oil & butter in cast iron skillet; lightly brown chicken on both sides.  Add broth and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.  Then arrange breast pieces in baking dish.
  6. Sauce: Mix starch and ¼ cup cream until all starch is dissolved.  Stir this into the drippings in the skillet.  Cook over low heat, gradually stirring in the remaining cream, sherry, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Cook, stirring, until thickened and then pour over chicken in baking dish.
  7. Bake: Cover and bake in preheated 350° oven for 40 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, grate cheese, chop parsley and mix together in a bowl.  After the 40-minute bake, sprinkle cheese/parsley mixture on top of the chicken.  Return to oven just until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
  9. Serve!

Serving ideas

References:

  1. Best of Friends, Etc. Cookbook, by Darlene Glantz Skees
  2. The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson (recipe for Chicken with Cooleeney Sauce)

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