Rose wine gives chicken breasts fla­vor of Provence

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By MELISSA D’ARABIAN

Boneless skin­less chicken breasts are a con­ve­nient go-to for many cooks, from pa­le­o­fol­low­ers to bud­get-shop­pers to busy moms. The mild fla­vor makes it in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile, so it’s easy to slip this cut of chicken into al­most any recipe or fla­vor pro­file. It’s one of the lean­est cuts of meat avail­able, with a quar­ter pound boast­ing 34 grams of pro­tein, and only 4 grams of fat.

The chal­lenge with such low fat is, of course, keep­ing the meat ten­der and juicy. Even a minute or two ex­tra of cook time can take din­ner from suc­cu­lent to stringy and tough. Grilling breasts brings ex­tra risk, since cook­ing tem­per­a­tures are high, nar­row­ing the tim­ing win­dow, so it’s even more im­por­tant to get it just right. A few tips may help tremen­dously here.

The big­gest chal­lenge is get­ting the in­side meat to cook be­fore the out­side meat gets tough, so the best move you can make is to use smaller chicken cut­lets. Or­ganic or free-range chicken breasts solve this prob­lem com­pletely, or if you have larger con­ven­tional cut­lets, trim them in half or thirds be­fore cook­ing. Next, avoid cook­ing the meat when it’s su­per cold, by al­low­ing it to sit at room tem­per­a­ture for half an hour be­fore grilling. And heat the grill only to medium high, or if us­ing char­coal, avoid put­ting breasts on the hottest part of the grill.

Chicken breast meat is usu­ally done a minute or two be­fore I sus­pect it will be, so I al­ways rely on an in­ex­pen­sive meat ther­mome­ter, so I’m sure to re­move the chicken at 160 de­grees. I then let it rest for five min­utes to keep the meat at max­i­mum juici­ness.

This recipe for Chicken Breast Proven­cal is in­spired by in­gre­di­ents typ­i­cal of the re­gion of Provence in the south of France, but eas­ily found in a well-stocked su­per­mar­ket.

Rose wine is the se­cret be­hind the sim­ple mari­nade that im­parts a lightly sweet fla­vor, but if you have a flo­ral white wine at home, it will do the trick nicely, too.

Olives — try to grab a hand­ful of in­ter­est­ing ones at the salad bar — and roasted red pep­pers from a jar add Medi- ter­ranean color, and a tiny bit of bal­samic syrup brings a bit of wel­comed acid­ity.

Your fam­ily will en­joy this dish be­cause of its fla­vors, while you’ll know how healthy it ac­tu­ally is.

Chicken Breasts Proven­cal

Start to Fin­ish: 15 min­utes, plus mar­i­nat­ing Yield: 4 serv­ings 4 chicken breasts cut­lets, about 5 ounces each

1/3 cup rose wine (or fruity white wine) 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil 1 ta­ble­spoon dried herbes de Provence (or a mix of oregano, mar­jo­ram and thyme)

¼ cup jarred roasted sweet red pep­pers, sliced, oil drained ¼ cup high-qual­ity olives 1 ta­ble­spoon bal­samic syrup(as­ter­isk) Kosher salt Black pep­per

In a bowl or re­seal­able plas­tic bag, place the chicken, wine, olive oil, herbes de Provence, salt and pep­per and mix well to coat the chicken breasts.

Let mar­i­nate for at least 30 min­utes at room tem­per­a­ture or up to 8 hours re­frig­er­ated, al­low­ing the fi­nal 30 min­utes to be at room tem­per­a­ture.

When ready to cook, heat the grill (or a grill pan, if in­doors) to medium high and lightly oil. Lightly blot ex­cess mari­nade off the chicken breasts and grill un­til cooked through and the meat is 160 de­grees on a meat ther­mome­ter, about 4 to 5 min­utes per side.

Re­move the chicken from the grill and place di­rectly on warmed dish or plat­ter. Top with the roasted red pep­pers and olives and driz­zle with the bal­samic syrup.

Let chicken rest a few min­utes, and serve. For a quick home­made bal­samic syrup: boil about ¼ cup of bal­samic vine­gar with ½ tea­spoon of brown sugar in a small saucepan un­til re­duced by half.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 241 calo­ries; 91 calo­ries from fat; 10 g fat (2 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 86 mg choles­terol; 436 mg sodium; 5 g car­bo­hy­drate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 27 g pro­tein

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