I am happy to report, the past week in my culinary adventure has been particularly “savor-worthy.” By that I mean the recipes have been disproportionately good for the amount of effort that went into them. Tonight is no exception. The recipe is Chicken Veronique with Fresh Peaches (pg. 172). Doesn't it just sound très bien!
The term “Veronique” is of Parisian origin and refers to a dish in which grapes, generally white and seedless, figure in to the preparation. The recipe from “Savor the Moment” calls for seedless grapes as well as fresh peaches that are first marinated in white wine and sugar. The chicken is then coated with ground ginger, paprika, flour, salt and pepper and browned in a tasty mixture of butter and garlic in a large saute pan. The marinade from the fruit is then added to the pan and the chicken is baked in the oven until it is cooked through. Let me tell you, it smells heavenly! Once the chicken is cooked, the grapes and peaches are added and the pan is returned to the oven until the fruit is heated through. By that point it is just bursting with sweetness.
Some helpful hints for preparation are, when seasoning the chicken you might want to use a gallon capacity, plastic bag which makes the “shaking” easier and you don’t risk a paper bag ripping. (I also didn't have a paper bag in my kitchen at the time!) I also had to cut the peach from the pit since it would not cooperate. I had one inch chunks instead of halves which still worked out very well. As an accompaniment, I served the dish with Couscous, perfect for absorbing all the delicious, golden juices.
In keeping with our French-inspired dish, I think a fabulous pairing for our Chicken Veronique with Fresh Peaches would be a white bordeaux. This dry, white wine is generally made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes with Sauvignon Blanc usually comprising the majority of the blend. These wines have a very nice minerality to them and would complement our dish beautifully with delicate notes of lemon, honey and peach. When purchasing, look for the appellations of Pessac-Léognan, Graves, and Entre-Deux-Mers which are know for producing consistently good wines. These underappreciated and frequently undervalued wines can generally be found for around $20 a bottle. Thankfully, they do NOT carry the hefty price tags of the reds of the region!
So invite some friends or that special someone over and dazzle them with a meal that is both très chic and très cheap! Bon Appètit!