Chicken Pontalba

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
20 min
45 min

4 small hearty servings or 2 larger servings

  • 1 (2 3/4 to 3-pound) chicken, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 6 pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup small-diced boiled ham
  • 8 ounces fresh white button mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, green part only
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound Brabant potatoes (small diced, blanched potatoes that are fried until golden)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 recipe Bearnaise Sauce, recipe follows
  • Bearnaise Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup melted clarified butter or 1 cup (2 sticks) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Season the chicken pieces on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

  • Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on both sides, 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ham, mushrooms, green onions, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms give off their liquid and start to turn golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds in volume, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Brabant potatoes and parsley and cook, tossing gently to mix, until the potatoes are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • To serve, place equal amounts of the vegetable mixture in the center of four serving plates and top with the chicken. Spoon the Bearnaise sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Bearnaise Sauce:
  • Combine the shallots, tarragon sprigs, white wine, and vermouth in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to 4 teaspoons. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and let cool.

  • In the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks and reduced wine mixture until ribbons start to form when the whisk is lifted. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the melted butter, a bit at a time, until the mixture thickens.

  • Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, chopped tarragon, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

  • Serve immediately or keep warm, covered, over a pot of simmering water, for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk before serving.

  • Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

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