When the weather begins to cool a bit and the humidity slowly disappears from the air, I begin to crave woodsier herbs in my food, and rosemary fits the bill perfectly. In my warm weather dishes, I almost always opt for a more delicate, brighter herb, like cilantro or dill, saving rosemary and sage for fall and winter. Since it’s not frigid out just yet, though, I was still craving a light, buttery sauce when I came up with this dish. White wine, butter, garlic, rosemary.. is it possible to go wrong there?
Have you ever had beurre blanc? A classical sauce, for culinary school graduates the days of beurre blanc are the equivalent of the days of calculus and geology 101 (ughhh) for most Philosophy majors (represent). Literally French for “white butter”, beurre blanc is essentially emulsified butter in a shallot-infused wine and lemon juice reduction with a touch of cream. Sound rich? Sound delicious? It totally is.
However, beurre blanc tends to involve, oh, at least twelve tablespoons of butter per batch, and if you’re “sauce people” like we are, one batch feeds.. two. That’s approaching a stick of butter per person! Fine for “sometimes”, but sometimes we’d prefer a sauce that’s still rich and decadent, but a bit lighter.
Enter my vin blanc au beurre. Literally French for
“I made this up” “white wine with butter” I blended a traditional pan sauce and classical beurre blanc by increasing the liquids of a pan sauce and viewing it as my reduction base for cold, cubed butter. I only used four tablespoons of butter, and we ended up with much more sauce than your average beurre blanc. The technique consisted of sautéeing garlic in the deliciously savory browned bits and cooking fat left in the pan in which I roasted the chicken, then deglazing the pan with a relatively large amount of white wine, letting it reduce, adding homemade chicken stock and rosemary, letting it reduce, then whisking in cold butter, tablespoon by tablespoon over very low heat to emulsify.
I always brine my chicken, since I use a quick brine that takes only a couple hours, and it comes out perfectly cooked, moist, and tender each and every time. However, I recommend using an in-oven thermometer with a probe to monitor exactly when your chicken is done so you don’t overcook it, a white meat national disaster. I linked my absolute favorite–I can’t live in the kitchen without one anymore!
Pan-Seared Chicken with Rosemary Vin Blanc au Beurre (White Wine with Butter Sauce)
- 2 bone-in chicken breasts , ideally brined (use my 2-hour quick brine)
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil or canola oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 2/3 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is great)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 2.5 " piece of rosemary , leaves removed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (half-and-half will do)
- 4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick), cut into tablespoons
- sprig of rosemary for garnish , optional
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Heat olive oil over high or medium-high heat in oven-safe medium-sized skillet (see note). Pat chicken breasts very dry and season with salt and pepper (if you brined your chicken, season with just pepper - you have plenty of salt in the chicken!). Use tongs to place chicken skin side down in hot oil and brown well, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes.
Place in oven and let cook for 8 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165ºF (see note). Remove skillet from oven and place on stove over low heat, then place chicken breasts on a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Make sure you're VERY careful about not touching the skillet handle without a potholder, as it's 375º!
Pour off excess fat in skillet, leaving about 2 teaspoons. Sauté minced garlic in skillet, stirring constantly, about 1 minutes, or until fragrant. Add in your wine to deglaze, and use a whisk to scrape off all the burny bits (fond) on the surface of the skillet. Raise heat to high and let reduce to about half, about 5 minutes. Then add in chicken stock and rosemary and let reduce to about half, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Remove from heat and add in heavy cream, then one tablespoon of cold butter. Whisk constantly to emulsify the butter into the sauce. Replace on low heat and add another tablespoon, whisking constantly to dissolve in sauce. Remove from heat and add in the third tablespoon, whisk.. then replace on low heat, add the fourth tablespoon, whisk..
Strain your sauce using a fine-mesh strainer and serve immediately, garnishing with an additional piece of rosemary. Try serving over orzo to soak up the delectable sauce.
To oven-proof any skillet with a rubber handle, simply wrap a piece of aluminum foil all the way around it. Tada!
The internal temperature of the chicken will rise slightly while resting, so you can try taking out the chicken at 162ºF, which is what I do. However, how much the internal temperature will rise is based on myriad factors, so my recipe (and lawyer) suggests you wait until the chicken reaches the super official FDA temperature of 165ºF.