“Elegant, gourmet, creamy, hearty, beautiful and delicious,” this chicken dish is the Mercer family’s all-around favorite, Dan Mercer says. While the original recipe calls for Champagne, he substitutes cream sherry, which he prefers for its flavor and added sweetness. To make Champagne Chicken even more special, serve with good-quality French bread and Champagne or sparkling cider. The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Also, you can sauté the meat and vegetables several hours ahead and reheat them when you’re ready to complete the dish, but make the cream sauce just before serving.

Serves 3

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon salt (for brining)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 cups of sliced button mushrooms (half of an 8-ounce package of pre-sliced button mushrooms)

1 teaspoon sugar

3 carrots, sliced on the bias

3/4 cup cream sherry or champagne

2 cups whipping cream

2 teaspoons of Better than Bouillon Chicken Base or several cubes of chicken bullion

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 heaping tablespoon Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon

2 rounded tablespoons of cornstarch, or more as needed

Salt and pepper

Several tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cut chicken diagonally into medallion-sized slivers (as opposed to chunks) and cover with water and salt. Brine the chicken for 1 to 3 hours. (You can omit the brining if you are in a rush, but it does help tenderize the chicken.) When you are ready to cook, rinse the chicken well and pat dry.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on high, until sizzling. Sauté the chicken pieces in batches until just cooked through, with no pink remaining, turning to cook the medallions on both sides. Add the garlic to the pan. When the chicken is done, remove it to a separate container.

In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms, sautéing for several minutes until nicely browned. Once done, remove them and combine with the chicken.

While the chicken and mushrooms are cooking, in a separate pan add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, sugar, carrots and several tablespoons of water. Sauté carrots until they are cooked through but still have some crunch, about 3 minutes. Remove these from the heat and add to the chicken and mushrooms.

Return the empty skillet used for the chicken to high heat. Once the pan is steaming, pour in the sherry to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a spatula or a wooden spoon to loosen the stuck-on bits. Bring the sherry to a boil and add the cream, bouillon, soy sauce and mustard.

While this is heating, liquify the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water in a bowl, then whisk into the cream mixture on the stove. Cook on medium high until the sauce thickens. You can add several more tablespoons of cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce if necessary; the sauce should be thick but not pasty. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

Return the chicken, mushrooms and carrots to the pan, heat through, and serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley. Enjoy.

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