Thursday, March 12, 2015

Irish Poached Chicken and Parsley Sauce with Purple & White Champs

     A Saint Patricks Day Chicken Entrée!
     Corned beef and cabbage or roast lamb are usually only cooked in America on St. Patty's Day.  Corned beef is really German food.  Lamb is usually taken in the month of June.  Salmon with Dill Sauce or Mulligan Stew are just about the only other St Patty's Day entrees that most American restaurants offer.
     I knew the facts about corned beef and cabbage before I was the chef at an English pub in Florida for 2 years.  The Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English customers constantly reminded all of us Americans at the pub, that lamb and corned beef were not traditional for St Patty's Day back home across the pond.  We laughed and replied, "But dude!  Corned beef and cabbage is where the money is at here in America!" 
    In all honesty, relatively few pub customers are concerned about food on St Patty's Day.  Beer, ale, stout and whiskey are considered to be the main staple on this holiday.  One might say that St Patty's Day is more of an Irish style liquid diet kind of event!

     Today's Irish poached chicken recipe is old fashioned, comfortable and good tasting!  Those who like the flavor of a good chicken pot pie will surely like the gentle flavor of this recipe!
     Irish cooks waste nothing and nothing unnecessary is made.  The parsley sauce is made with the strained chicken poaching liquid and cream!  Parsley is added just before serving, so it stays a nice bright green color.  The vegetables from the poaching liquid are served with the poached chicken.

     Irish Champs are the traditional choice of potato for accompanying the poached chicken.  Champs are creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with green onion or scallions.  Chives can be added too.
     The color of purple potatoes adds a nice touch.  The flavor of purple potatoes is similar to a red bliss potato.
     Today's champ recipe is a combination of white russet potato and purple potato that is duplexed in a pastry bag, then piped onto the plate.  Champs are usually made with sliced green onions.  The green onions must be very finely minced if the champs are to be piped through a pastry bag.
     Purple & White Champs: 
     This recipe makes enough champs for 3 to 4 servings!
     Step 1:  Place 8 ounces of whole unpeeled purple potatoes in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 peeled russet potato that weighs 8 ounces.
     Cover the potatoes with 2" of extra water.
     Boil the potatoes over medium high heat.
     Step 2:  *The purple potatoes will finish cooking first!  So be prepared to remove them from the pot about 5 minutes before the russet potato.
     Slightly cool the surface of the purple potatoes under cold running water.
     Quickly scrape the skin off of the purple potatoes, with the back of a paring knife.
     Step 3:  Place the peeled purple potatoes in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 minced green onion.
     Thoroughly mash the purple potatoes, till they are very smooth and creamy.
     Set the purple champs aside in a dish and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Drain the water off of the white russet potato, after it becomes soft.
     Repeat the same steps that were used to make the purple champs.
     Step 5:  Place a star tip in a pastry bag.
     Load the star tipped pastry bag with the white russet champs.
     Step 6:  Place the purple champs in a second pastry bag that has no metal tip.
     Flatten the white russet champs pastry bag on a counter top.
     Lift the pastry bag away from the potatoes inside, to form a hollow pocket.
     Insert and slide the purple pastry bag over the white champ inside the star tipped pastry bag.
     Twist both pastry bags shut as one.
     *The two colors of champs can now be squeezed through one shared star tip that is attached to the outer pastry bag. 
     Step 7:  Set the champ pastry bag on a bain marie set to 135ºF to keep the potatoes warm.
     Irish Poached Chicken: 
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Place 3 cups of water in a small sauce pot.
     Place the water on high heat and bring it to a boil.
     Add a cheese cloth sachet bouquet garni of:
     - 2 pinches of thyme leaves.
     - 3 laurel leaves.
     - 10 black peppercorns.
     Add sea salt.
     Step 2:  Boil the poaching liquid for a few minutes till the herb aroma develops.
     Step 3:  Add a 6 ounce trimmed boneless skinned chicken breast.
     Add 3 carrot sticks that are 4" long.
     Add 4 peeled celery sticks that are 4" long.
     Add 8 to 10 pealed pearl onions.
     Return the poaching liquid to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Remove the vegetables from the pot and set them aside in a container on a stove top to keep them warm.  Spoon a little bit of the poaching broth over the vegetables to keep them moist.
     Step 5:  Continue to poach the chicken breast, till it is fully cooked and tender.
     Place the poached chicken in the same container as the vegetables and keep the ingredients warm on a stove top.
     Leave the poaching broth in the pot on the heat.
     Parsley Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2/4 cup of sauce.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a whisk to make a white roux.
     Stir the roux till the first hint of hazelnut aroma develops.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of the hot chicken poaching liquid.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream while constantly stirring with a whisk
     Stir till the sauce starts to simmer and till it thickens to a very thin sauce consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin cream sauce consistency.
     Step 4:  Add 3 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian Parsley just before serving.
     Irish Poached Chicken and Parsley Sauce with Purple & White Champs: 
     Step 1:  Pipe a generous portion of the purple and white champs on the back center of the plate.  (Use a spiraling motion that ends with a peak.)
     Step 2:  Cut the poached chicken into thin slices.
     Fan out the sliced chicken on the plate in front of the champs.
     Step 3:  Alternate the carrot and celery strips across the top of the chicken so the fan out from the potato.
     Cascade the pearl onions over the chicken.
     Step 4:  Spoon a generous amount of the parsley sauce over the chicken and vegetables.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     The flavor of this Irish comfort food recipe is gentle, soothing and delicious!  This is a very nice looking plate Irish plate of food! 

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