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Monday, March 28, 2011

Liz Taylor's Chicken

Last week, we lost Elizabeth Taylor. She of the acid wit displayed in cinematic classics Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Taming of the Shrew. She was force to be reckoned with, an enigmatic movie star of the highest caliber, and a foodie.

Immediately the food sites all posted and reposted a recipe called Elizabeth Taylor's Chicken Steamed In Wine. None could verify it was actually created by the silver screen queen. It is hard to imagine the glamorous Cleopatra in the kitchen whipping up chicken recipes, but it sounded good. I want to believe she cooked while wearing her signature white diamonds. "These have always brought me luck…"

You might expect a dish linked to a woman with Liz Taylor's reputation to follow suit: strong flavored, exotic, with a hint of spice. Maybe even a little unforgiving. You won't find that here. It's simple chicken-in-white-wine-sauce fare. And it's super easy.

The recipe calls for a whole chicken. If you're a busy girl like me, cooking for one, there's no need to suffer an hour of simmering an entire chicken. One breast or thighor better yet, cutletscut the time significantly. A nice dry white (a $10 Bordeaux from Trader Joe's made it into this dish and into a glass for the cook. I was thirsty...), some garlic, onions, bay leaves and other aromatics, salt and pepper, and you're done.

I even whipped up a little white wine reduction, and threw some rice in it. DELICIOUS.


A note about the wine: Sauternes wine is from a specific blend of French grapes (similar to Bordeaux wines, but in a different ratio). Sauterne (no S on the end) wine refers to any number of California whites. More about the difference between the two can be found here. Note the recipe calls for a dry white, not a dessert wine. The 2009 Mouton-Cadet Bordeaux I found at Trader Joe's was inexpensive, dry, and excellent on its own.  



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Liz Taylor's White Wine Chicken,
Based on the unverified Elizabeth Taylor's Chicken Steamed in Wine recipe.

Ingredients
1 chicken thigh, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried crushed mint
1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 dashes black pepper
1 cup dry sauterne wine (or other dry white)
Instructions
1. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until shimmering and quickly sear the chicken.

2. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the chicken.

3. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked through.

4. Remove chicken mixture to plate and discard the bay leaves. Return the pan to low heat, add about 1/4 cup of wine. Scrape up any chicken bits from the bottom of the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Pour reduction over chicken.


Yield: 2 servings

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