Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken Galliano (a.k.a. Best Meal EVER!)

This recipe hails from the latest edition of Saveur. It's part of a nice little sidebar story on p.26 that you'd sail right past if you were doing a speed read. My ship stopped right there and dropped anchor. I saw its underlying awesomeness right away. I drove to the remotest liquor store in Ottawa -- the only one with Galliano on the shelves -- the very next day. And tonight, after cobbling together the rest of the ingredients, ended up creating the best thing I ever ate (ok, maybe I'm still riding the awesome-meal high, but I don't think I'm all that biased! This is a choice dish!).

The recipe calls for six boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used two for this run, not having anyone else to share it with today. Chicken breasts come with a tenderloin that you'll need to remove for this recipe (the folded-over part on the right one). You can cut it, but I find that they can be gently pried off without much trouble.

Keep the tenderloins aside and use them in the recipe too -- cooks treat (ok, the whole thing is cooks treat today, but you know what I mean). Now you have to pound the chicken breasts flat (that's why they're sitting on two sheets of waxed paper).

Put a double layer of waxed paper on top too, and then find something heavy. I use the pestle from the rock mortar and pestle I have. You could use a rolling pin, a heavy iron pan, a two by four, I've used a croquet mallet before, you could even buy one of those metal things actually meant for doing this job.

Now, the recipe says to pound the breasts to 1/8 inch thickness. Good luck with that. I'd say mine were more like 1/4 inch, and much more than that would have left me with a mess o' chicken paste rather than flat cutlets. Be gentle with your pounding -- it's more like tapping really -- and gradually flatten them out.

You can see that things went a little awry on the left cutlet -- no sweat if this happens, you're gonna roll these puppies up so you can just tuck it in at the start.

Season the chicken with some salt and some pepper. Give the chicken a little lift at this stage too so that it isn't stuck to the waxed paper.

Now for the filling -- you need some herbed cheese (the recipe calls for goat cheese, I used Boursin) and a slice of prosciutto for each piece of chicken.

Spread two tablespoons of cheese on each breast, then add a piece of prosciutto.

Then roll them up!

Now you need to tie the rolls. There recipe says to just tie a loop around each end. Humbug! Here's my favourite way to tie meat. First make an inverted U on the cutting board with kitchen string.

Put your meat on top.

Pull the U down onto the roll.

Take the ends of the U and stick them through the loop.

Pull the left end to the left and the right one to the right.

Flip the roll.

Tie it across the middle.

And snip the extra. Volia!

Do the same with number two! If you're in a hurry, you could skip all that and start here with some chicken breasts -- pork chops would probably be great too.

Ok. Time to cook (thank God! I'm STARVING!). Start by chopping some mushrooms and leeks. The recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but I had shiitakes. It doesn't call for leeks, but I had some nice ones from the farmer's market kicking around, and I thought they'd be nice too. Put a couple pats of butter in a frying pan and add the leeks and mushrooms. I know I guy named Pat. Plus there's the Pat The Bunny book (pat's a verb in this case). So, as you can imagine, I always laugh when I add a pat of butter to something. ANYWAY, cook the leeks and mushrooms on just over medium (I used heat 6) for about 10 minutes.

Make sure the pan is hot enough to toast the mushrooms nicely, but not so hot it burns the leeks (burnt leeks are the worst).

While that stuff is cooking, coat the chicken rolls in flour (don't forget your cook's treats!).

When the mushrooms and leeks are done, remove them from the pan for later. Add another pat (HAHAHA) of butter and a splash of olive oil, and start cooking the chicken. I kept the pan on the same heat, and dropped it down a notch about half way through.

Jockey the chicken around the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. The tenders will be done in about 5-6 minutes, so stop for a quick taste. Every now and then, sweep the chicken through the corners to keep stuff from burning in there. You want a nice gentle sizzle, but enough heat to brown the outsides nicely.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a plate and get ready to deglaze the pan, with...

GALLIANO! I mentioned before that Galliano was a favourite of my Gran's. She used to eat it over vanilla ice cream all the time. When I opened the bottle and had a whiff it sent me right back to her kitchen -- what a great aroma! Sadly the little soldier dude isn't on the bottle anymore (that's the main thing I remember from the bottle stashed in the broom closet in the kitchen), but the insides sure seem the same. You need 1/4 cup of Galliano and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to make the sauce (if your stock is from the freezer like mine, put it in a pan to warm up way back around step one).

Put the chicken stock in first to avoid an unintended flambé, then add the Galliano and stir. Pop the heat up a bit so it boils nicely, and scrape the nice crusty bits from the pan as you stir.

Let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes. Then put the chicken, mushrooms, and leeks back in there and roll them around for about 5 more minutes until heated through.

Put the chicken on a plate, then quickly finish the sauce with a dash of cream and heat it through for a couple of seconds (the recipe calls for butter, but I had this whipping cream lying around and couldn't resist -- what could I do?!). This is the best time to get the string off the chicken, by the way -- you don't want to have to deal with it at the table. Give a couple snips with the kitchen shears, and gently peel it off before the next step.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve. I was totally stunned by the sauce. It was slightly sweet with an out-of-this-world flavour. I don't think I've tasted anything better, ever. Make sure you have some nice bread to sop it up with, or be prepared for some plate lickin'! I used 1/3 the amount of chicken called for in the recipe, without reducing the quantity of sauce, and there wasn't a drop left. Be prepared for a battle if there are leftovers!

Strepitoso!! Times a million!


  1. I will definitely try this. Probably with a glass of galliano on ice to finish the meal. Love that gold elixer (its good for what ails ya or just for fun)

  2. I hope you don't have to go to Barhaven to get a bottle!! Enjoy it!

  3. I tried this last night (leekless though). Fantastic!

  4. Glad you liked it! I wonder if the LCBO will be wondering why all the Galliano is flying off the shelves!

  5. Hey, thanks for the excellent tip on how to tie meat! I learned something!

  6. Sounds great - just read this from Australia - will try it :)

  7. Thanks for the recipe - just read it here in australia - will try for sure.

  8. This looks amazing and your instructions are flawless. Adding the ingredients to my shopping list:)