By Cat, Jan 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Another name for this baked dish is Chicken with Cooleeney Sauce (as named by The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson (1)). I changed the name because Cooleeney, a type of Camembert cheese made on an Irish farm of that name, is not available where I live.
See also a related recipe for chicken breasts in a sauce, originally called Palm Springs Chicken: Chicken Breasts Baked with Cheesy, Creamy Sherry Sauce (2).
Chicken Breasts Baked with Camembert Sauce
I’ve adapted this delicious recipe from The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson. I’m not Irish, but I love Irish food! Cooleeney is a rich Camembert cheese made on a particular Irish farm of that name. Camembert is a smoked double-cream cheese; a reasonable substitute is brie, or a mix of brie and smoked gouda. Or you can use any cheese that combines well with milk/cream in a sauce, such as Camembert, Brie, Blue Brie, Gorgonzola, smoked gouda, and Kerry Gold brand Irish cheeses can also be used for this dish.
Some of the ingredients are listed as a range. The lower end of the range is per the original recipe; I like extra sauce so use the greater amount.
This recipe serves 4. However, if the breasts are large, cut each half-breast in half, crosswise, after brining, to serve 8 (or halve the recipe).
- 4 chicken breast pieces (6 oz each), brined (bone-in, skin on; or boneless & skinless)
- freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ – ½ cup homemade chicken stock
- 1 leek
- ½ cup heavy raw cream (or whipping cream
- 4 – 6 oz Camembert or other cheese
- ⅓ – ½ cup sour cream or Crème Fraiche
- ⅓ – ½ cup dry vermouth or other dry white wine
- ⅓ cup walnut pieces, toasted (or pre-soaked & toasted)
- baking dish
- Brine breasts in a salt brine for 30 minutes. Remove from brine, rinse and drain. Remove bones and skin (reserve bones for making chicken stock another time). Season pieces with pepper, to taste.
- Meanwhile, wash the white part of the leek, then slice thinly, cross-wise. Chop cheese, (do not remove the rind).
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place chicken pieces in baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, turning once.
- Add stock to chicken, and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and drain liquid into saucepan.
- Add leek to saucepan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add cream and chopped cheese; continue to cook, stirring, until the cheese melts.
- Simmer 3 – 4 minutes, then add sour cream and wine, and cook until smooth and hot.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- To serve, place breast piece(s) on each plate. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with walnuts. Alternately, place breasts in a shallow serving bowl, pour sauce over and sprinkle with walnuts.
- Serve with steamed Brown Rice, White Rice, or Wild Rice; Wilted or Braised greens. Accompany with slices of pickled beets (preferably lacto-fermented).
- The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson (recipe for Chicken with Cooleeney Sauce)
- Best Friends, Etc. Cookbook, by Darlene Glantz Skees (recipe for Palm Springs Chicken)