Almond Chicken

I was reading through all the wonderful blogs yesterday, and stumbled across this fabulous recipe for chicken with nuts from Paula at Bell’alimento. I modified her recipe a bit, partly to suite my taste, but mostly because I did not want to make a grocery run. This dish is an easy sauteed chicken with a rich nutty sauce to die for. I first started by browning the chicken breasts. Then I pan roasted the almonds in butter. I do not have good luck with simple sauces, so I did what I do best, milk gravy, or Béchamel. I added some flour, cooked it out and added the milk. I was out of lemons, and I attempted to use dried herbs to get around it, however I had to send hubby out in the rain for a lemon, it is absolutely essential to this recipe. Paula also calls for brandy, but I only had cherry flavored, which did not sound good to me. However I did  have amaretto. So I decreased the amount of liqueur, since the almond liqueur is so strong. The end result was a rich full flavored sauce.

Almond Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup almonds
3 tablespoons flour
A dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried thyme
The juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur, I prefer Di Saronno
3 cups milk
Kosher salt
Pepper
Olive oil

For the Almond Rice Pilaf
2 cups white rice
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped almonds
4 cups chicken stock

Directions:

Prepare rice by sauteing the peppers, onions, and garlic with a little olive oil and kosher salt. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add rinsed white rice and turn to a simmer.

Cover for 20 minutes on low and then turn off the heat and let it set for at least 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Do not stir the rice.

For chicken, preheat skillet. Salt and pepper chicken. Add olive oil to pan, enough to coat. Brown chicken and remove from pan. Add butter and almonds. Sprinkle with kosher salt and saute until lightly browned.

Add flour, and add more butter or olive oil if there are any dry spots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and continually whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil. Sauce will thicken. Turn heat to a simmer. Now you can add the zest and juice of the lemon and herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add amaretto. Stir well and then add chicken to the sauce and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with the rice pilaf or buttered pasta.