I believe that the easiest way to change up a meal is to make a sauce for it. I've always loved making sauces and if I ever have people over for dinner, I usually serve something with sauce. Not only does it make the meal feel fancy, and it tastes like you worked on it all day, but it also covers up any boo-boos. Let's say you over cook the meat a bit, by adding sauce you add back some moisture. Or say the meat sticks to the pan and tears a bit, just pour some sauce over it. And here's a great tip, always have fresh Parmesan in your fridge. If you decide to experiment and just throw a sauce together (which I do often) and it doesn't taste quite right (also happens often, more than I care to admit), just turn off the heat and stir in Parmesan. I'm tellin' ya, Parmesan has saved many meals in this house.
The sauce I'm sharing with you today is inspired by a recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. I didn't want to copy a recipe directly from the book since I know America's Test Kitchen is a little protective over their recipes, so I found one and changed half of it. The fennel and mustard flavors in the sauce are strong so you only need a little bit of sauce for each chicken breast.
And I didn't forget about the book review I promised. As expected, I adore this cookbook. It contains 2,000 recipes and almost any meal I think of, I can find in this book. I also know that whatever I make, it will most likely turn out well. I trust the recipes, which is very important when it comes to buying a great cookbook. The only downside is that I feel the dessert and bread sections are skimpy. I just expected more. I also think that even though the amount of recipes is a really good bang-for-your-buck, I can see how many people would find it overwhelming. I know I do at times. There are no pictures, just page after page of recipes. But overall, I really do feel like it's worth every penny, especially since it's very affordable.
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy!
Fennel and Mustard Pan Sauce
Serving Size = about 3/4 cup, enough for 3 - 4 chicken breasts
Adapted From: Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, 2011, p 318
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- After you cook the chicken breasts in a large skillet, remove them and add the shallot and fennel seeds (you might need to add a touch of oil). Cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook, constantly stirring, for another minute or two. Slowly whisk in the broth, scraping up the brown bits. Reduce to 3/4 cup, which takes about 5 minutes.
- Stir in any leftover chicken juices and simmer for another 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard and butter. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
Linking to: Hearth and Soul