Here's an easy, but classy, recipe that would set the right tone for a Valentine's Day dinner entree. I first encountered this dish -- or a variation of it -- at a Greenwich Village restaurant when I lived in New York City.
The restaurant (now gone) was called Cafe de la Gare, and one of the main draws -- aside from the great food -- at this little Village bistro was the lack of a liquor license. It was BYOB, so we could bring our own wines. I suggest pairing this particular dish with a creamy California Chardonnay or a French white Burgundy.
This recipe calls for the use of boneless chicken breasts, but you could also use boneless turkey, veal, pork, or even fish with this sauce; it's very versatile.
4 boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast pieces, pounded thin, scallopine-style
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup cornichons pickles
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
Either by hand with a sharp knife or in a food processor, chop the parsley, tarragon, cornichons and shallots to a fine consistency.
Sprinkle black pepper to taste onto the chicken breasts.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on each side.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Pour any fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the flour.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk continually, making a roux.
Keep whisking the roux for 3-4 minutes until it's light brown (sort of peanut-butter colored).
Whisk the chicken broth into the roux and cook until thickened a bit.
Stir in the cream, the herb-cornichon-shallot mixture, and the mustard. Whisk to blend well.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pan and cook over medium heat, simmering, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Serve the chicken napped with the sauce. I like to serve it with rice pilaf on the side.
Happy Valentine's Day!