CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI OR ASPARAGUS BAKE WITH CREAMY SHERRY SAUCE

This is a nice
Valentine's Day entrée to serve to special people.

 

  • 8 ounces fresh broccoli, cut into spears, or fresh
    asparagus spears, woody tips removed and
    partially cooked (see note)
  • 4 chicken half breasts, bone-in or boneless, or 1½ pounds
    boneless chicken breast pieces
  • Flour as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine or cooking oil (corn,
    canola, or safflower oil)
  • Sherry Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • About ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or as
    desired
  • Paprika as desired for garnish

 

Partially cook fresh broccoli or asparagus while
chicken is baking; drain well and set aside. Note: May use thawed
frozen broccoli or asparagus spears; drain well, but do not cook, as they will
become too mushy during baking process.

 

On a sheet of wax paper, dredge chicken breasts or breast
pieces in flour, coating each lightly.

 

In a large heavy skillet, melt butter or heat oil over
moderate heat.  Add chicken and brown each
piece thoroughly on all sides. 
Transfer chicken to a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan/dish or other casserole
and bake, partially covered, in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for
about 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Prepare Sherry Sauce while chicken is baking. 

 

When chicken is done, arrange partially cooked broccoli or
asparagus spears between chicken pieces in baking pan/dish; evenly spoon
prepared Sherry Sauce over the chicken and vegetables.  Evenly sprinkle almonds, cheese, and paprika
over the top of the casserole.  Return
casserole to oven and continue baking, uncovered, for about 15 to 20 minutes or
until chicken is fork tender, sauce bubbly hot, and almonds and cheese lightly
browned.

 

 

Sherry Sauce

about 2 1/3 cups

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire or to taste
  • 1 to 2 drops hot pepper sauce or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper to
    taste
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons diced pimento, drained (optional)

 

In a medium heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat; add
flour, blending well into a smooth paste. 
Gradually add milk, blending well. 
Cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat, until mixture is
thickened and bubbly hot.  Remove from
heat and stir in sherry, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and salt and
pepper to taste.  Stir in pimento.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

Preparation for partially cooking broccoli and asparagus:
In a deep large heavy saucepan, cook asparagus, uncovered, in salted boiling
water to cover for 2 to 3 minutes after water returns to a boil or until
asparagus are tender but crisp and firm. 
Or, arrange asparagus spears in an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish; add water
to just cover asparagus.  Loosely
cover with plastic wrap, allowing for steam venting; microwave at HIGH power
for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly. 
Rinse asparagus in cold water; dry thoroughly, and set aside. 

 

To cook partially cooked broccoli, Clean
broccoli; remove the outer leaves and tough part of stalks.  Cut stalks lengthwise into uniform
spears.  Cook broccoli spears, uncovered,
in 1-inch of boiling salted water over moderate to high heat until crisp
tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Or, microwave broccoli in
water to cover in a glass heat-proof bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap at
HIGH power for 1 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook.  Immediately rinse broccoli under cold running
water to stop cooking action

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