I'm not sure where I got this idea, but years ago when my mom was dumb enough to let me start cooking (and created this monster, sorry Mama) I had this thing with chicken and pears. I made grilled chicken and some sort of gravy with pears in a pan, and it was usually pretty good!
I hadn't made anything like that in years, but we had some brie leftover from our sweet trip to Asheville, and pears are, like, everywhere right now.
So, chicken with pears and brie was re-invented! You'll love this, promise. It's fancy. Like me. Not.
Easy and fancy. Not like me. Good greif.
for four portions, here's what you need:
- 4 medium chicken breasts
- 2 pears
- 2 medium onions
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- sliced brie cheese (enough to cover the top of all the chicken)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper
Start by browning the chicken in a pan THAT CAN GO IN THE OVEN over medium-high heat with salt, pepper, and olive oil. If you don't have a pan that can go into the oven do the stovetop part in a regular skillet, then transfer everything to a baking dish with no lid before you put the food under the broiler. You'll be fine, calm down.
If that's the case, ask for a cast iron skillet for Christmas, too. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or your birthday.
Cooking time for the chicken really depends on how thick your meat is - these were a little less than 1 inch thick at the biggest part, and 5 minutes on each side was perfect.
You want the chicken SLIGHTLY undercooked because it will 1. keep cooking once it's out of the pan and 2. go back under the broiler soon. I promise. Don't freak out about raw meat.
Good job. While the chicken is cooking grab the pears and onion - I only have one of each because I made this for two.
I like big pieces of pear and onion because this prevents them from breaking down too much, so I just quarter them. To quarter the pear, cut all the way through the pear.
Then, cut into each piece on an angle to take out any stem and core bits - just take out anything inedible; it won't be much!
For the onion you just, uh, peel it and cut it into quarters. You know how to do that, right? I know you do. Sometimes I leave the root attached so the pieces stay together - it makes for a really pretty presentation!
Clearly I didn't do that this time. The end. You can grab your mustard and butter too at this point to have it standing by.
When the chicken is almost cooked through and the onions and veggies are ready, transfer the chicken to a plate to rest and put the pears and onions into the same pan with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Keep the heat high - you want the pears and onions to turn a bit brown on the edges. While the pears and onions are cooking, stir the cornstarch into the chicken stock until it's dissolved - stir for a good 30 seconds or so!
When the pears and onions have begun to brown, after about 7 minutes of cooking, add the butter, mustard, and cornstarch/stock mixture to the pan.
Stir everything around and lower the heat a bit - you want the sauce to bubble but not completely evaporate. Add more plain chicken stock if the gravy is too thick.
Yum! Let the butter melt and the sauce thicken. While that happens, slice the brie into thin slices - I like to leave the rind on, but you can cut it off and feed it to your dog if you want. Turn the broiler to high at this point as well.
When the gravy looks acceptable to you, TASTE IT and add more salt, pepper, or dijon if you'd like. Then, lay the chicken breasts on top of the gravy/onion/pear mixture and top them with the cheese slices.
Now, put this whole pan of magic in the oven with the broiler on for just a few minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly and you almost burn your mouth eating it too soon.
Oh my. That is yummy. Now, on the plate this isn't the sexiest dish, but the flavors TOTALLY make up for it, I promise. Like I told you earlier, I serve this with cute little baby potatoes, but roasted garlic mashed potatoes with some parsley stirred in would be wonderful too!
Make this soon - it seems fancy and tastes wonderful but is really very easy!