Main Course – Grilled Lemon Chicken with Linguine

grilled chicken 2Tonight we moved on to the main course – Grilled Lemon Chicken with Linguine, fresh green beans on the side.  This is the warmest day of this week and I wanted to cook this meal on the grill but of course that isn’t the easiest way to cook pasta.   One note; we do not have air conditioning in our house – most do not have air conditioning in their homes here in Vermont.  Many do not even have a/c in their cars (I don’t).  To offset the heat of boiling pasta in the kitchen in the evening, I decided to boil the pasta to an al dente level early in the day and then reheat it in the evening.  Not the most gourmet method but it worked.  I didn’t rinse the pasta until right before I served it, and I rinsed it in very, very hot water.  This worked fine.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  The recipe is as follows:

Chicken Lemon Linguine

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 pound seasoned grilled chicken chunks
  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Directions

Heat butter and olive oil together in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion and garlic until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add milk, bouillon, oregano, salt, and pepper to onion mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook sauce for 5 minutes. Whisk cold water and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth. Mix cornstarch mixture and chicken into sauce; cook until heated through and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook linguine at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes; drain.

Turn heat under saucepan with sauce to low; add lemon juice, parsley, and lemon zest and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta, toss to coat, and transfer to a serving bowl; top with Parmesan cheese.

My changes to this recipe;  Igreen beans increased the cornstarch by one tablespoon (a total of three tablespoons), I grilled a flattened chicken breast, seasoned with olive oil, salt and a little lemon pepper then cut the chicken into one inch strips.  I used white pepper and a bit of the lemon pepper in the sauce.  I cut down on the Oregano, only used 1/2 teaspoon.  This recipe was served by putting the pasta onto the plate, adding strips of chicken, spooning sauce over this and then the parsley was sprinkled on the top.  pinot grigio I omitted the Parmesan cheese.

The green beans were so beautiful, fresh from the field, that I only steamed them for 3 minutes.  I always add salt and lemon to the water when steaming vegetables and this worked ideally with this side dish.

Reata_Chardonnay_LInitially I thought to serve a chardonnay with this meal but after preparing it, I thought a Pinot Gris would be better.  We opened both a Reata Chardonnay (not the Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay as originally planned) and a Da Vinci Pinot Grigio.  The Da Vinci Pinot Grigio won the evening, hands down.   I believe it was the crispness of the citrus and acidity of the Da Vinci that paired so perfectly with the lemon in the sauce.  The Reata was nice but a bit too complex for this meal.  It could have been the warm weather, difficult to say.  The Reata is one of my favorite chardonnays, it is not overly buttery or heavy.  Instead, the Reata starts out with some acidity but has a smooth finish.   This is a very good chardonnay but for this particular pairing I would go with the Da Vinci Pinot Grigio.

This meal was excellent on a warm summer evening.  The lemon in the sauce was light and refreshing, the wine was crisp and of course the company was wonderful.

The fourth course is the salad course, odd for us here in the States.  We usually eat our salad before the main course but I am looking forward to this salad.

What Wine Will You Be Drinking Easter Sunday?

For many of us, Easter Sunday is April 5, 2015,  and we will be celebrating with family and lambfriends.  Traditionally Easter dinner is Ham, Lamb or perhaps Fish.  Even if you’re not  celebrating Easter, you may want to take advantage of the lower prices on these items this time of year.

If  you’re  serving a lamb dish, one that has garlic, velvet devilherbs and salts, or mint, or perhaps even lemon, you would do well to open a bottle of a nicely rounded Merlot.   Merlot wine will allow the seasonings of the Lamb to come forward and will not obscure the flavor of your entree.  We recently had a lovely Merlot called The Velvet Devil.  This wine is produced in Mattawa, Washington.   The price on this Merlot should run about $12.00 to $15.00.   I enjoyed this wine for the fruit forward plummy taste which was accented with a bit of chocolate.  Very soft tannins and a nice  finish on this wine.

For those of you serving Ham, I’d go with a white wine.  If you’re going with the traditional easter_hampineapple/orange sauce and brown sugar, you would do well with a medium-oaked Chardonnay or a White Burgundy.  The Chardonnay would be something along the line of  Hess, Kendal Jackson or my favorite, Reata.  Generally speaking, if your Chard comes from the Napa/Sonoma area or Lodi (Central Valley) region of California, it will have a bit more vanilla and butter flavor to it.  If  it comes from France or the California Coast, you will have more crispness to it.

These wines are dry enough to keep the sweetness of the fruit sauce from becoming too sweet.  They will counter balance your ham and the spring vegetables (Asparagus, Spring Beans, Fennel, Peas) you may be serving with your ham.   If you’re going with a spicier version of ham, one with spicy mustard, cloves and coriander, then you will want to reach for a Dry Riesling.   Make sure it is a Dry Riesling, any other Riesling will be too sweet and should be served with dessert, not the entree. Dry_Riesling My favorite Dry Riesling is  Chateau Ste. Michelle from the Columbia Valley.  This wine will hold up to any spicier dish, especially if you’re leaning towards the Asian or Indian influence in your seasonings.  It will pair beautifully with Spiral Ham with Mustard Glaze and roasted potatoes or Au Gratin Potatoes.  This is also a nice wine for an aperitif.

If you want to serve a red wine with your ham, try a Pinot Noir from Oregon or France.   The Pinot Noirs coming from Oregon or France will be subtle enough to allow the flavor of the ham to come through and not over power it.   If you’re serving a sweet, fruity ham, a dry Rosé wine (Cab Franc based)  is as red as I would go.

If fish is your entree of choice, your wine decision should be based on the style or sauce that you’re serving with your fish.  Basically, if it’s a lightly herbed or lemon based, such as a roasted salmonRoasted Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon Oil (recipe here)  then you want a light, delicate white such as a Chablis, Chenin Blanc or Steel Aged Chardonnay.  My pick fopine ridger this would be the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/ Viognier  (This is just a beautiful white to have in your house at all times).

If you’re going with a spicier style of sauce or grilled shellfish (recipe for Spicy Grilled Shrimp here) then you’ll want to go into the more complex whites such as a White Burgundy or Dry Riesling.  Finally, if you’re doing a tomato based sauce then you can get away with a Sangiovese (a true Sangiovese, not a Chianti) or perhaps a Malbec or Pinot Noir.  Choose a red that is robust in flavor but not overly tannic.  Lean towards the dark red fruits.  I would choose a Rosso di Montalcino.  The rules for a Rosso di Montalcino make it a true Sangiovese, not a Chianti which helps to keep the tannis down and the fruit forward.

Now, with all of this Easter entree talk, I don’t want to leave out the Easter brunch cbanfirowd.  Basically, if I was doing an Easter brunch, I would offer either Mimosas (Champagne and Orange Juice)  or a slightly sweet Prosecco as an aperitif before the meal.  Banfi Rosa Regale is a beautiful slightly sweet prosecco that would be a lovely way to start the day.   I like to add a clean, de-stemmed strawberry to the bottom of my glass when serving a Prosecco.

If  you’re going with the quiches, eggs, stratas, then stick with the lighter whites such as a Pinot Grigio,   If you want bubbles, then choose a dry Prosecco such as Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut.  The flavors of this Prosecco lean towards peaches and apricots with light hints of lemon and toast. This is a very affordable option and usually available.

If you’re celebrating Easter or not, I hope you have a lovely Sunday this first week in April.  I’m serving ham, what will you be serving?