Who says that a chicken dinner can't be elegant? If you're not into beef but want something special for the New Year, this delicious alternative will impress even the fussiest guest. Double the recipe for more people, if needed. Enjoy!
1. Place each chicken breast between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound each breast until it is uniformly about one-quarter-inch thick. Season each piece with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Place each breast on top of a large piece of plastic wrap or wax paper.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 7 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon Espelette pepper (Espelette pepper is available at specialty food stores)
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup diced tomato, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/4 cup Nicoise olives
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken, one piece at a time, and saute until golden-brown, about 2 1/2 minutes on the first side and 30 seconds on the other. Remove the chicken to a plate. Set aside in a warm place.
3. Drain the excess fat from the pan and add the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and saute for 1 minute, until tender, then add the garlic and saute just until aromatic, a few seconds, being careful not to brown. Add the wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
4. Stir in the chicken broth, the Espelette pepper, thyme and tomatoes. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes so that the flavors develop. Stir in the olives.
5. Add the chicken back to the pan, spooning the sauce over it. Cook for 1 minute, then remove the chicken to a plate. Spoon the sauce evenly over each piece, and serve immediately.
Total time: 35 minutes
From Los Angeles Times test kitchen director Donna Deane LA TIMES-WASHINGTON POST—04-14-08 1247ET