“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love makes the ride worthwhile.” Franklin P. Jones
February is often associated with cherry dishes in America yet cherries are not in season. Why is that? Well February is also when we celebrate Presidents Day and it is rumored that America’s first president, George Washington, cut down his parents’ cherry tree. This story is nothing but a fable perpetuated by Parson Weem, a family friend and author, who thought the story would be a good moral tale to inspire the country’s young to tell the truth: “I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet.” is the myth that has been oft repeated about George Washington. American painter, Grant Wood immortalized Parson Weem’s Fable in his 1939 work of art of the same name. The parson is in front of the curtain framing the unfolding moral tale.
The myth of President Washington loving cherries endures and cherry recipes appear every February. When Tasting Table published this chicken recipe from Iowa Girl Eats recently, I was smitten. Prince Charming was way less enthusiastic until he tasted it. The chicken breasts are sautéed in a skillet. A red wine pan sauce is then reduced with shallots, cherries, red wine, broth, fresh thyme and balsamic. OMG! A most gorgeous and savory ruby red sauce is created and spooned over the chicken breasts for a very special dinner created in about 20 minutes flat. I added spicy mustard to the sauce as I felt it needed a bit more flavor. Use frozen, fresh or preserved cherries(drained). I used frozen cherries and Zinfandel wine. We served ours with basmati rice so every last bit of sauce could be enjoyed. I think George Washington would have loved this dish too!
Chicken with Cherries in a Red Wine Pan Sauce
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, pounded to an even thickness
- olive oil for brushing
- salt and pepper
- 2 T unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 c red wine of your choice
- 1/2 c chicken broth
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T spicy brown mustard or Dijon
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cherries(do not thaw)
- 1 t thyme leaves
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté in a skillet until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and cover in foil to keep warm. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet and cook the shallots until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, broth, cherries, vinegar and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat so the sauce is bubbling and reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes. Stir often. Use a wooden spoon to press down on the cherries and split some of them in half. Turn off heat, and add the second tablespoon of butter and the mustard. Stir to mix in well. Spoon over the chicken.