23 September 2007

Chicken with Pear Salsa

I saw this recipe in my latest issue of Bon Appetit, and just had to make it. Even though this was their official Fall Issue, this recipe was more summery with the salsa and chicken. So off I ran to the grocery store to gather the ingredients.

Well, I obviously ran off too quickly, because I totally missed the "pear nectar" needed to make this. Instead, I squeezed pears (yes, squeezed pears. For juice. Yes, it took a long time. Stop laughing). I also minced up the pear to throw into the sauce as well. It still tasted great, but yeah. I totally recommend not forgetting the pear nectar.

This dish was WONDERFUL. We made a simple salad to eat on the side, but the salsa itself is good enough to eat tons of it as a side with the chicken. I can't quite describe the taste: the sauce for the chicken is warm and very autumn-like, with the mustard really rounding things out (love that piquant bite it brings to the sauce). But the salsa is more summery, with the sweet fruit and cilantro and peppers and lemon. All in all a keeper recipe for our household.

Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Pear, Pepper, and Cilantro Salsa


For Salsa:
2 ripe Anjou or Bosc pears; peeled, cored, and diced
1 c. finely diced bell pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. finely chopped jalapeno chiles (about 2 small)
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
For Chicken:
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half again horizontally (so breasts are very thin)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2/3 c. low-salt chicken broth
2/3 c. pear nectar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice

For Salsa:
Mix all ingredients except cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Stir in cilantro.

For Chicken:
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in a wide shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, shaving off excess. Place on a plate.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add 3 chicken breast pieces to skillet and cook until brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to clean plate. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. each butter and oil and cook remaining chicken.

Transfer last of chicken to plate, and tent with foil to keep warm. Add broth to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Stir in pear nectar, mustard, and lemon juice. Boil until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate:
Place 1 chicken breast piece on each plate. Spoon sauce over. Top with a generous serving of salsa.

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