Chicken Parisienne

I have no idea where the original recipe for Chicken Parisienne came from, but I have loved it all my life. This rich dish, with its contrasting spicy hot and sweet, fills me with comfort. Over the years I have significantly modified how I actually cook it, so that what I do today is not really what the original recipe called for, but I think it has just been improved. Here is an outline of what I actually do.

4 chicken breasts or 6 thighs
2 T butter
¼ c Sweet Marsala wine
¼ t cayenne pepper or more to taste
3 T shredded parmesan cheese
2 T tomato paste
2 T currant jelly
3 T dry dill weed
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 T vermouth
½ pint sour cream

If you have split chicken breasts or thighs with the bone, bone the chicken and put the bones into a stock pot to simmer for the stock. Thighs can be left with the bone in if you wish. If you got boneless breasts or thighs, use canned stock or bullion. Pat the meat dry, salt and pepper and dust with flour. Melt butter in deep skillet and brown the meat over medium-high heat, searing each side about 4 minutes until browned. You may need to brown the meat in two batches. Place meat in a deep baking dish, like a 9 x9 glass dish.

After the meat has been browned and removed, deglaze the skillet with the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits. Put in the cayenne, parmesan, tomato paste, jelly, and dill weed. Simmer a few minutes to reduce slightly. Add stock and mushrooms and bring to simmer, cooking for 5 to 6 minutes or so to allow the mushrooms to lose some moisture.

Gently mix in the sour cream until dissolved, and splash in the vermouth. Pour the mixture over the meat in the baking dish and place in an oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes. After baking, because I like my sauce to be thick, I often mix 2-3 T of cornstarch in water, add to the mixture and then simmer it right in the baking dish on the stove top until the cornstarch is cooked and the sauce is thickened.

Serve with a rice pilaf and vegetables, spooning the sauce over the meat and rice as desired.

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