Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Dinner

My parents came up for Sunday dinner at my place and the onus was on me to plan out a decent meal with one night's notice. Okay. To the freezer I went. Tons of chicken breasts. A bag of roasted pumpkin my mom and I had roasted around Halloween and I hadn't quite figured out how to use it. To the wine rack. A Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. So let's piece them all together.

Chicken in a Dijon White Wine Sauce


1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tbsp dried parsley (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

  1. In a ziploc bag combine dijon mustard, garlic, white wine, chicken broth, onions, salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. (I didn't have time so I had a short 1 hour marinating time.)
  2. The original recipe calls for removing the excess marinade and browning the chicken in a skillet before adding the excess marinade. I diverged from the recipe here and just put it directly in the oven after removing it from the marinade. Next time I'll definitely brown it first to add a lot more flavor.
  3. After browning on both sides in a skillet, remove chicken and add marinade to the pan, scraping the bottom to remove brown bits.
  4. Add chicken back to the pan and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes or until done.
  5. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, keeping remaining marinade in the pan. Cook on high to thicken sauce. If it thickens too much, add chicken broth to loosen.
  6. Pour marinade over cooked chicken.
Below: The simmering dijon white wine sauce.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup


4 cups peeled cubed pumpkin
1 large yellow onion, minced
6 ounces chicken broth
1/2 bottle dry white wine*
1/5 cup to 1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl toss pumpkin with olive oil and and salt and pepper. Cook for 45 minutes until soft, and set aside. (You can freeze the cubes like I did for later use. I just thawed them and removed the skin before adding to the soup. Keep in mind that frozen pumpkin holds water so it will add water to your soup. Adjust spices accordingly if it becomes watered down.)

2. In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot melt butter and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaf and spices and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add 4 cups of the chicken stock. Simmer over low heat.

3. Place cooled pumpkin in food processor with reserved chicken stock (2 cups) and puree until smooth. Set aside in a separate bowl.

4. Puree contents of simmering pot (onion, garlic, spices, etc) in food processor.

5. Combine all pureed ingredients back in the stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.

6. 15 minutes before serving, add cream (or half and half).

Optional: Top with sour cream and chives when serving.
* The original recipe didn't call for white wine but I found the soup needed an acid to kick up the taste. The wine doesn't mask or cover up the earthy tones of the mace and thyme and just blends everything together beautifully.

Below: The pumpkin soup with the cream just added. My mom made a pretty pattern for the photo before stirring it in!

Above: The simmering pumpkin soup before the cream was added. Can you see the steam?!

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