These chicken tenders are an adult-only meal because of the sherry in the cream sauce and the marinade ingredients. Great meal for the grown ups.
A Meal For Grownups Only
It’s a treat every now and then to have something that’s not entirely “family friendly.” This is a great date-night meal for that reason.
Where I wouldn’t serve this to young kids–apart from the liquor–because their taste buds aren’t fully mature, it’d be perfectly acceptable for older teens. I’m sure that any alcohol burns off in the cooking process, but since I’m not sure if that applies to the marinated chicken, I would err on the side of caution and make this only for adults.
I took a chance with this marinade–which is radical because it’s only one ingredient.
The big surprise is that it’s sweet red vermouth. Yes, you heard that correctly. And the idea came from The Two Fat Ladies. They were cooking some game meat–I think it was partridge–and Clarissa said that marinating it in sweet red vermouth not only kept this virtually fat-free meat juicy, but that it also neutralized the gamey flavor.
Our chicken tenders and/or breasts aren’t gamey, but they can tend to be dry. I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it came out. I cooked one chicken tender to see what it tasted like and I admit I wasn’t too impressed. However, I had marinated a slew of tenders so I had to use them.
The big surprise was that when combined with the sherry and sour cream-based sauce, this all came together and tasted, well, fantastic.
Reductions Increase Flavor
Since I have the time to do it, I reduce most sauces food cooks in. To me, the flavor you get is well worth the time invested.
But I do realize that not everyone can afford the 20 or so minutes that this takes–especially when you have hungry people to feed–so thickening the sauce with about a tablespoon or two of cornstarch or flour mixed with water is totally OK. If you’ve used a rich concentrated stock, the sauce will still taste great.
- 2 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 cup red vermouth
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 8 oz button mushrooms, cut in half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ½ cup sour cream -OR- creme fraiche
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Place chicken tenders in a large bowl or container that has a tight-fitting lid. Pour in the red vermouth. Marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Drain the chicken and pat dry. Brown chicken on both sides--this may have to be done in shifts. Remove from pan and tent with foil.
- Turn the heat up to high and sear the mushrooms until they are a nice deep brown. Deglaze pan with the sherry then add the garlic. Stir in the chicken stock and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to about half.
- Whisk in the sour cream until there are no lumps/ Add the chicken back to the pan and heat through.