We had a very special dinner this past Saturday night. First of all, it was the one night of the week where we could splurge a little from our new healthy eating lifestyle. We have decided to set aside one evening a week to have a few special things to eat that would not normally be “allowed” every day while trying to eat healthy. It gives us something to look forward to and does not make us feel so deprived from having some of the foods we still enjoy. We also shared a wonderful bottle of Chardonnay that is definitely reserved for special occasions. A romantic dinner for two at home is reason enough to celebrate!
We shared a bottle of 1999 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Chardonnay. Yes, this wine is 10 years old and has been in the wine cellar for 8 years. We often hear how white wine is meant to be consumed within the first few years of bottling. Except, great white wine will continue to age well for 10 or more years. This was a wonderful white wine. It had aromas of pears, the scent of dried figs and hints of spice and nutmeg. The wine was fragrant and sweet. A product of Australia, this wine possessed a full mouth feel with layers of fruit but does not overpower with butter or French oak which has been a characteristic of California Chardonnays. (Of course, my hubby gave me the wine info!).
The best part about the dinner was that everything was so delicious and so fresh, yet it still was really “lighter food”. The flavors popped, the colors were bright. It truly was a wonderful meal.
The highlight of the dinner was a dish that I have made for many years. It is so simple and easy to improvise with whatever fresh herbs you may have on hand in the fridge. You will, however, be amazed at the fabulous flavors that come from so few ingredients! It is easy, yet elegant and simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner. I assure you that the aroma of the herbs, chicken, garlic and lemon sautéing together will make this a go to recipe in your repertoire.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 4 lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces (Use the best free range or organic chicken you can find. I cut the breasts in half since they are so large these days. This allows the breast meat to cook more evenly with the others cuts as it makes them more similar in size.)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, cut into quarters
A few sprigs each of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Wash and dry the chicken. Pat dry. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium high heat (you want to cook all the chicken pieces at once). Add the chicken and sauté a few minutes to begin to brown. Then add the garlic and herbs and sauté everything together.
Turn the chicken to brown on the other side and watch the garlic so it does not burn.
Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (25 – 30 minutes). Turn the chicken over once during cooking.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. If the sauce is not thick enough, remove the chicken and keep warm. Reduce the sauce until it is of desired consistency.
I served this delightful Provençal Chicken with roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese, a fabulous salad (recipe coming soon!) and the Meyer lemon Budino for dessert. Yum! It was truly a memorable meal.