Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Chicken Bryan Variation

I suppose that by the time one uses a copycat recipe and then changes it yet again, it is absolutely no longer that original recipe. I am talking about Carraba's Chicken Bryan, of course. When we lived in Florida, we went to Carrabas a few times, and Chicken Bryan was what I ate each time. I just loved it that much. There is nothing in the recipe that I do not like, so that is an optimal start. Once we moved, and Carraba's is not available here, I just gave that idea up. 

And then one day some time back I was online and came across a recipe for "Chicken Bryan". This recipe is another of those that I did not keep the website information for, and cannot find it again, for the life of me. I printed the recipe out...and forgot about it.

Yesterday I was trying to come up with some idea for supper. I just had my kids visiting, and was kind of "cooked out", but I needed to make something. I thought about pork chops, and I knew I had some chicken breasts in the freezer. I wracked my brain for an idea....and suddenly remembered this "Chicken Bryan" recipe I had tucked away. I couldn't remember all the ingredients off the bat, but was sure there was goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, which I had on hand. When I found the recipe, it also had white wine and lemon juice, which I had, and called for Fettuccine, which was also in the pantry. 

My Mock Mock Chicken Bryan with a glass of Conundrum White
I read through the recipe, which stated it needed 13 tablespoons of butter (plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil). For a recipe with two chicken breasts, which I would assume is a serving for two people, that seemed awfully excessive. The person writing said that they doubled the sauce part of the recipe because they liked a lot of sauce. That almost freaked me out to think about, truly! That is 3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons of butter. For two people! Yikes!

I realize that in restaurants, they use a lot of butter. It just makes things taste better. It doesn't mean I want to take that practice home. And that is also why I rarely go out to eat anymore. I prefer to make my own food, so I know absolutely all of the ingredients used. I determined to start with slightly less than half of the original 13 tablespoons.

I have been using my kitchen scale a lot, so I thought nothing of reading the recipe to state 2 1/2 ounces of sun dried tomatoes. It did not even occur to me to see how many tomato halves that turned out to be. I actually used only 2 ounces, and that might have been 6 or 7 tomato halves altogether. The fact that the recipe stated the tomatoes should be "drained and chopped" told me they were using sun dried tomatoes in oil, which I also had on hand. The last thing I needed was some fresh basil. Lately, when fresh basil is in the house, it is going towards another batch of Pesto, but by coincidence, I had a small bunch of basil in a glass of water on the windowsill. It was meant to be.

Absolutely delicious Mock Mock Chicken Bryan
The large amount of butter is used to make the wine and lemon juice sauce into an emulsion at the end of cooking. For any who do not realize this, it is easy to make a quick and impromptu sauce this way for most things made in a skillet. If I make pork chops, and there is a little liquid left in the pan when they are done, I might add a couple of tablespoons of cold butter to the pan and stir them around until it melts and makes the liquid slightly thickened. Alternatively, if there is some good "fond" (all the crusty bits left in the bottom of the pan), just splash in a little wine, water or stock and stir up all that goodness left in the pan, then add in the butter to emulsify the liquids. Instant sauce. 

I have no recollection of what kind of pasta was served with the Chicken Bryan in the Carraba's I frequented. Assuredly, being an Italian restaurant, it was some kind of pasta. The recipe I had on hand called for Fettuccine. I had some in the pantry, so Fettuccine it was. I have seen online photos of "Chicken Bryan" with a penne type pasta as well. Serve it with whatever pasta you desire.

Things I did differently than the online recipe on hand: 
  • less butter
  • less sun dried tomatoes
  • more onion
  • added japlapeno
  • added capers
  • used no extra salt or pepper at the end of cooking

Mock Mock Chicken Bryan

Serves 2 - 3
about 40 minutes, start to finish

1/2 pound pasta of choice, Linguine, Fettuccine, Penne, etc.
1 tablespoon salt (for pasta cooking water)
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

2 ounces (6 - 8) sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
4 ounces goat cheese (Chevre or Montrachet), sliced or broken into small chunks
1 - 2 tablespoons capers
1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh basil, in chiffonade

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, minced (seeded if you want less heat)
1/2 cup white wine (I had Chardonnay opened)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Set a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add in the tablespoon of salt (I use coarse sea salt) and add in the pasta. Cook according to package directions, or until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse lightly so it will not stick together while waiting to be used.

At the same time, have a large skillet heating and add in the olive oil. Dry the chicken breasts and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Saute the chicken until it is nicely browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a platter. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. 

Into the same skillet, add one tablespoon of the butter until melted. Add in the onion and garlic with the jalapeno and saute until the onions are golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add in the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Lower heat and begin adding the remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until each pat of butter is completely melted and incorporated. Add the pasta and the chicken with half the goat cheese, all the sun dried tomatoes, the capers and half the basil chiffonade. Toss well to combine. Divide between 2 or 3 plates, as desired. Top with the remaining goat cheese and basil chiffonade to serve. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.