Written by Alan Zox Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00
The best thing about Thanksgiving is that everyone celebrates it together, regardless of religious affiliation. It’s a time to give thanks for surviving Superstorm Sandy, for living in a nation where our leaders are chosen by the people and for the bounty of our nation. We work hard for hours to create special and memorable holiday meals. But sometimes you need a break from turkey. To break the monotony of our leftovers, a few years ago I decided to make a new dish called Chicken Mezra, that I had discovered on a recent trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The recipe met all of my post-Thanksgiving criteria—simple, delicious, different and easy to make. This dish can be prepared in advance and finished later by putting it under the broiler for a few minutes.
So I prepared the dish, put it on a sheet tray and left it on the top of the stove. My family was restless and wanted a change of scene, so we decided to head out to a local Inn for a pre-dinner cocktail. We left my sister in law’s large dog, Woof, at the house. Woof had very long legs and an appetite of several large, adult males.
When we returned about an hour later, the sheet tray was on the floor of the kitchen right side up. The chicken and the goat cheese were gone and all that was left was the small globs of red chile jelly that had topped each of the chicken breasts. Woof was lying on the kitchen floor near the tray, looking somewhat sheepish and full almost to the point of being sick. We had never known before that he had such discriminating taste. When we realized that Woof had eaten our dinner, we burst out laughing and the story of Woof’s chicken dinner became a part of family legend.
Recipe adapted from Rosalea Murphy, Pink Adobe, Dell Publishing 1988
6 skinless chicken breasts ( Approximately 2 Lbs)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup very finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 jar Stonewall Kitchen red chile jelly
1 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese ( Montrachet)
Lightly season the breasts with salt and pepper. In a heavy 12-inch skillet, heat butter and oil. Lightly saute celery, shallots, and cilantro. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. In the same butter and oil, saute chicken breasts until lightly browned (3-4 minutes per side). Sprinkle reserved sauteed vegetables on top of each chicken breast. Add chicken stock. Cover skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle each chicken breast with goat cheese. Spread 2 tablespoons of red chile jelly on top of each chicken breast and set aside until ready to finish. Place under broiler until cheese melts (about 3-4 minutes).