Although I enjoy cooking simple recipes, I have to say that I do not like handling raw meat -- frankly, the thought gives me the heebie jeebies! I am allergic to red meats, so I seldom have a reason to deal with them in raw form, but I do enjoy poultry. Much as I hate to admit this, I often buy precooked packaged chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the deli just to avoid handling the uncooked version. Every once in a while, though, I come across a chicken recipe that is so simple and requires so little contact with the raw meat that even I will prepare it. This chicken recipe only requires me to cut chicken breasts in half, which can be done in the original packaging, and using tongs to place them in the pan to cook, keeping the actual handling time to a bearable minimum. I am also not a big fan of stovetop frying or sautéing (I would rather use the oven to bake, roast, or broil since I don't like splattering grease), but again this simple recipe makes sautéing doable for me. I am more of a baker than a cook, so any recipe that makes cooking more pleasant is a keeper in my book, and the fact that the results are amazingly tasty doesn't hurt either! Keep in mind that packaged chicken breasts are actually breast halves -- this can be confusing sometimes (a 1 1/2-pound package of chicken breasts usually contains three of these halves).
Chicken in Red Wine Sauce
1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved widthwise
1/2 T. paprika
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. red wine
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 T. Wondra flour (optional)
Heat oil in skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add chicken pieces to skillet and cook about 10 minutes per side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and brown sugar. Pour wine and salt around the chicken. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, basting chicken pieces with wine sauce occasionally and turning them once halfway through cooking time. If desired, remove chicken from pan and stir in flour, cooking until sauce is thickened. Return chicken to pan and coat with sauce. Serve over buttered linguine. Serves 6.
Note: I sometimes add about 8 oz. steamed crisp-tender baby carrots to the skillet after adding the wine and simmer them with the chicken, or I serve steamed broccoli alongside as shown in the picture. Microwaveable bags of vegetables are a great timesaver here!