Farm Foodie: Pears for Dinner
This post written by our resident Farm Foodie – Debra Dubief
As we move into what is for most of us the busiest month of the year, it’s nice to have a plan for a few quick, satisfying meals that feel indulgent even though they aren’t. Well actually, it’s always nice to have those, isn’t it? I love to discover new recipes that are destined to become favorites, but when evenings are hectic and the thought of cooking a tasty home-cooked meal kind of blows my mind, I turn to my stack of tried and true favorites. Somehow, just the act of thumbing through clippings from old newspapers and magazines and website printouts (of course, scrawled with notes on them as a reminder why we love them), calms my jangled nerves enough to envision getting dinner to the table in the foreseeable future.
My most recent recipe resurrection is for a simple—in preparation, not in flavor—pear and chicken dish. Though it’s not fancy or difficult, somehow the combination of sautéed pears, shallots, chicken breast and thyme turns into something greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t generally think of Bartletts as a cooking pear but here they become incredibly fragrant and remain firm even after simmering. This could also make a tasty vegetarian meal spooned over chunks of roasted squash or yams. Either way, it is light and satisfying without being laden with butter and carbs; something I appreciate even more as the treats start rolling in.
I like to use bone-in chicken breasts, because I think they are infinitely more flavorful than boneless, but I completely appreciate the ease and speed of boneless. Thighs also work great in this, but right now while I still possess some semblance of self control, I’m sticking to the lighter side.
- 4 chicken breast halves (bone-in or boneless)
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pear juice, nectar or substitute apple juice – divided
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp white wine, juice or stock
- 1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored and cut into 12 wedges
- 1/4 cup sour cream – light or regular (optional)
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
- Heat a light coating of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, put the chicken into the pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; cook about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. This will take slightly longer with bone-in breasts.
- Put shallots into the pan and sauté one minute adding about 1 tablespoon of the pear juice. Pour in remaining juice and stock; add the thyme, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook about 4 minutes, until slightly reduced.
- Stir in the dissolved arrowroot and cook 1 minute. Add the pears and cook 3 minutes or until pears are just tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in sour cream if using. Return pan to low heat and gently heat through. Stir in the parsley. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.