Here, the chicken takes on a decidedly meaty quality. Bremer says he prefers the color and richness of the veal demi-glace sauce when he uses dried lime. This goes well with carrot puree.
- For the brine
- 8 (56 ounces) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- For the chicken
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or more as needed
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup dry Marsala
- 1 1/2 cups demi-glace (may substitute store-bought)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1 dried lime, crushed and crumbled into small pieces* (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
For the brine: Place the chicken in a nonreactive container and fill with water to cover, about 1 gallon. Add 3 tablespoons of salt. (If this is not enough to cover the chicken, add proportionately more water and salt.) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes only.
For the chicken: Remove the chicken from the brining liquid, discarding the liquid. Pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the canola oil. If you have to brown the chicken in batches, you may need to add another tablespoon of butter and more oil. Cook the chicken on both sides until it is browned, about 3 minutes per side, and transfer to a plate to keep warm (chicken will not be cooked through at this point).
Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze it, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits, and add the marsala, stirring to combine. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
Transfer the reduced liquid and pan juices to a heavy braising pot with a tight-fitting lid that is large enough so that all the chicken will be in contact with the bottom of the pot. On low heat, add the demi-glace, tomato paste, thyme, dried lime, if desired, and the browned chicken. Cover the pot and cook for 1 1/2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure that the chicken is mostly covered by the liquid. (During the long braise, the dried lime, if used, will dissolve and thicken the sauce.)
Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Increase the heat in the same pot to medium to further reduce the sauce, about 6 minutes. Swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If the sauce requires more thickening, prepare a beurre manie (1 tablespoon of softened unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon flour) and add that to the sauce.
To serve, spoon a little of the sauce on warmed individual plates, tipping each plate slightly so a thin coating of the sauce covers half the bottom of each plate. Cut the chicken into thick slices and place on the sauced plates. Garnish with 1/2 tablespoon minced parsley per plate.
Adapted from L. Paul Bremer from a recipe he learned from Henri-Etienne Levy.
Tested by John Allen.
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