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Higher Learning: Roast Chicken with Beurre Blanc

Higher Learning: Roast Chicken with Beurre Blanc
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Vivek is back…and we are all smarter for it!

I can see you guys reading this post. You know what roast chicken is – everyone does. But what in God’s name is this beurre blanc sauce? Am I right? To be honest, when I first came across “beurre blanc”, I was dumbfounded and had no idea what it was. I was at this restaurant and ordered these beautiful seared scallops. I asked the waiter what “beurre blanc” was and he said it was a white wine and butter sauce. I like butter. I definitely like wine. This was a no brainer! The sauce was just amazing – it’s rich and creamy, but also lends great acidity because of the reduced wine. You could put this sauce on anything and it’d be amazing.

The key to beurre blanc is to reduce your wine until its almost a syrup and then to slowly whisk in super cold, cubed butter until it melts and forms an emulsion, similar to a vinaigrette. Today, I’m giving you the recipe with a simple roast chicken, served with lettuce, peas, and asparagus. But feel free to put this on some grilled salmon, pork chops, or a salad! Whatever you do, just make some of this sauce!

Roast Chicken with Beurre Blanc

1 whole chicken
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut in half
1 bunch of thyme
1/2 head of garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stuff the lemon, thyme, and garlic into the cavity of the bird. Truss the chicken and then rub it down with olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast in a 450 degree oven for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the thickest part of the thigh register at 160 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes.

Beurre Blanc
2 shallots, sliced
2 cups dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 cup white wine vinegar
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes and very, very cold
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Put the shallot, wine, wine vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the wine is reduced to a syrup. Strain the sauce into another pan and add the cream to the reduced wine. Then slowly whisk in a small amount of butter until it melts, then add another small bit, until all the butter is used up. The sauce should be velvety and thick and cohesive. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Carve the chicken how you like and give everyone a piece with some beurre blanc. I made a simple salad with lettuce, some fresh peas/asparagus which have been quickly blanched. It’s a delicious dish and as much as I love roast chicken, this dish is all about the sauce.