Great Recipe for Holiday Dinner Parties: ‘Tis the Season Chicken

We found this delicious sounding recipe on Facebook thanks to our friends at Satterfield’s Restaurant in Cahaba Heights. Share your favorite holiday recipes with us on our Facebook page!

‘Tis the Season … for Sharing Recipes

By Becky Satterfield, owner and pastry chef at Satterfield’s Restaurant in Cahaba Heights

I first encountered this recipe 19 years ago at my husband’s 40th birthday party. We were still living in Houston, Texas, at the time and a great friend of mine, Jana Low, catered the birthday bash — a pretty big feat since about 50 people showed! The dish she served was called ‘Tis the Season Chicken and it’s one that stuck with me ever since.

I surprised him by flying in a few of his closest friends (including my mother to play piano). We moved all of the furniture out of our living room so we could set up about 10 round tables with ecru tablecloths and linen napkins. Small rose centerpieces graced each table, with very subdued off-white and delicate pink-beige hues. We used our Tuxedo dinnerware and Francis I silverware … it’s always fun to dress up tables so beautifully.

Everybody loved Jana’s chicken and rice concoction, along with the green beans, salad, and buttery dinner rolls. Our dessert that night was a wonderful chocolate cake from La Madeleine, every bit as delicious as its velvety brown frosting suggested it would be.

After that night of fun and togetherness, we yearned for that recipe again. My friend Jana gave me her recipe and I have used it numerous times for happy occasions (and not so happy). It’s one of those recipes that you can’t forget for some reason and perfect for any time of year, but is especially terrific during the holiday season. (Which is perfect, because my husband’s birthday happens to be November 30!)

The recipe presented here is my version of Jana’s marvelous creation — more of a deconstructed version of it. But if we really want to give credit where credit is due, it belongs with my friend, Jana Low from Houston. I have shared it with many others have a connection to the dish through some special event. It’s the sort of meal that embeds itself in the hearts and minds of all who encounter its enchanting flavors and texture. Food and music are so funny that way … and I’m so glad it is.

This recipe goes pairs perfectly with haricot verts sautéed with applewood smoked bacon, diced shallot and chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. I also like to serve it with Parker House rolls and a green salad with frisée lightly intermingled with mandarin strawberries, goat cheese, strawberry vinaigrette and a light sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds. Last but not least, such a dish calls for a fabulous finale: Pear Frangipane Tart.

Every performance of this dish has received a standing ovation!

‘TIS THE SEASON CHICKEN 

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups of organic wild rice  
5 cups of chicken stock 
6 pounds boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds – lightly toasted in 350 oven for 10-15 mins.
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup of white wine
1 bundle of bouquet garni: 3 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 sprig tarragon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves — tie with string, set aside
Roasted almonds*
Cranberry compote**

*Rosted Almonds:

 Lightly toast 1/2 cup of thinly sliced almonds in a 350-degree oven on a sheet pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Set aside.

**Cranberry Compote:

4 cups fresh organic cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

For the cranberry compote, combine all ingredients (cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it starts bubbling and then reduce heat. Cook for about 15 minutes and remove from the heat; set aside. Stir well, and pour over the center area of the chicken breasts.

DIRECTIONS

Chicken Breasts:

Place sauté pan over medium-high heat and drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Lightly salt chicken breasts on both sides. Place the chicken breasts into the pan topside down. Allow the chicken to get a nice caramelized sear (about 3 minutes). Turn with spatula or tongs and sear the other side for about 2 minutes.

Remove from sauté pan and set aside. Deglaze the sauté pan with white wine of choice, return the chicken breasts to the sauté pan, lower temp to simmer, add bouquet garni, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When cooked and rested, grind fresh black or white pepper (or pepper of choice) before serving. 

Rice:

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth until it bubbles around the edge. Add rice and stir frequently until rice begins to take on the broth, and then turn the heat down to low simmer. Cover saucepan with lid and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 30-35 minutes). Let stand covered with heat off for 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. 

Plating:

On a platter, put all the rice in a nice oval covering the area of the platter, arrange chicken breasts across the middle, grind fresh pepper, spoon a generous amount of cranberry compote across the middle of the chicken breasts, sprinkle toasted almonds across the center of the cranberry compote, sprinkle minced fresh Italian parsley over the rice. Serve and enjoy. Tis the season to enjoy everything!

Yield: 7-8 servings.