So, today I wanted something really yummy for lunch. I have more than a dozen of the show Barefoot Contessa saved on my DVR, so I turned to Ina for inspiration. The subject of one of the shows was about cooking quick meals, so I thought this would be promising. The first dish she prepared was a salmon dish and, considering that my first and only attempt at cooking salmon was an abismal disaster, I decided to forgo that option. Next on the show was pan-seared chicken breasts with a beurre blanc sauce….despite the intimidating french names involved, I was intrigued and once again, I had chicken at the ready. I was watching the show with my 4-year-old son and was amused at how much he was interested in what was going on. So, Ethan and I watched the segment on pan seared chicken and I proceeded to the kitchen to make an attempt at this lovely meal. I had forfeited the pen and paper option and thanks to the wonders of DVR, just paused the action as I got the information I needed. There I was, back and forth from kitchen to living room, playing, pausing, rewinding and playing once more. Ethan got in on the process and was giving me measurements from the other room. We were quite the team and I had high hopes for a delicious meal with my little helper.
Thankfully, I did well on the chicken…which was a real relief after the “ol’ dry bird” ordeal. Sweet redemption! Ok, so the next step was to make the beurre blanc. That is just a fancy way of saying butter sauce. So, the ingredients were as follows: 1/2 cup white wine, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup shallots. These ingredients are reduced, then you add 3 TBSp. cream and a couple of TBsp. of butter to thicken it and add velvetty richness. Easy enough, except that I was fresh out of white wine (haha) and had nary a shallot one, so I had to improvise. Normally, I am all about improvising a recipe based on what ingredients I may or may not have, or what my skill level may or may not be. In this case I had chicken broth to replace the white wine, and green onions to replace the shallots. Close enough, right???
Now that I had come up with some alternatives, I could get started. According to Ina, you allow the shallots (green onion) lemon juice and white wine (chicken broth) to reduce for five minutes. Well, maybe in her little tv world, hers reduced in five minutes, but in the chaotic reality that is my kitchen, it was much longer. I know they say that watched pots never boil, but this was getting ridiculous. So, as I was getting pretty hungry and impatient with this “5 minute” reduction, I decided to forge ahead. In went the cream followed by the the beurre….it was not looking like the sauce on my tv screen at all. Then I tasted it. WOO GIRL!!!!! That was some powerful lemon juice! If only you could have seen the pucker on my face! It was like putting one of those atomic sour gumballs in your mouth. I wanted so much to like it but it was awful. How could I salvage this stuff???
I still had my skillet that I had cooked my chicken in and all those flavor-packed drippings were just sitting there, idle and unused. Ahah! Well, my fancy “beurre blanc” was about to get a good ol’ southern gravy style makeover! I poured off the excess oil and made a roux with a TBsp of flour. I then added the sauce to the roux and gently wisked away until it finally thickened. Now for the taste….cough, cough….yeah, that’s better…cough, cough, pucker….Ok, I’m hungry, that’ll have to do.
I made a plate for Ethan then myself and sat down at the table. He was at one end and I was at the other. In spite of the gravy overhaul which would probably horrify every Frenchman out there, I felt like I needed a white table cloth and stemware. It was just so funny because we were seated so formally. It did, however, give me the perfect view of my son’s reaction to my beurre blanc gravy…..
He dipped such a generous portion of that beurre gravy onto his chicken and because he helped me so much, I knew he was so excited to taste it. He had a man bite and he was going in…the next thing I see is his face convulsing and contorting as the bitterness of the lemon infused gravy hit his little taste buds. Balling his fists and shaking his arms, the facial expressions were beyond my ability to describe as he attempted to choke down that mouthful. The most precious thing ever was when he finally overcame the initial shock and looked up at me and said…”Mmmm….that’s pwetty good, mawm… (eye twitching…)”
I want y’all to know, I did not make him eat it despite the fact that he was being such a trooper about it. However, I ate that ol’ sour lemon gravy because I ain’t about wasting food and effort, but it made me decide that I just don’t have the sophisticated palette for a beurre blanc….give this girl some good ol’ fashioned southern gravy and I’m a happy camper!
My sincere and heart-felt apologies to the French….
From my kitchen disaster to yours…hahaha!!!!