Chicken in Wine Sauce

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Meet Bo, my new Cookbook Wall contributor.

This recipe is for the day when your hair is on fire. For when you drive 19 miles to the strawberry farm to buy fruit for making jam, and the berries are so ripe you must start rinsing and hulling the minute you get home, before decay sets in. For when you have 10 pounds of highly perishable strawberries to make into jam, while a chihuahua who clamors to be held rakes your leg with his claws on the first day you’ve worn a skirt in eight months. That’s also the day when you have to sign Do Not Resuscitate forms for a loved one and fill out seemingly endless paperwork elsewhere regarding a home sale. And when you go by the bank to use the ATM machine it mysteriously grinds and rattles for two minutes while counting out your $60 and eventually sighs in defeat, the message screen saying it can’t process your transaction. The bank manager says the ATM probably ate a bad twenty, which she adds hardly ever happens. That’s also the day you’re making dinner for three of your own family and one extended family member who will need his meal delivered, and you’re out of lemons for the next batch of jam, necessitating another trip to the store. And while you’re washing dishes because the dishwasher’s broken again your daughter will show you a spot on her skin that could be cause for concern but your journalism degree didn’t cover skin cancers so you’re stuck in worry mode and furious at the tanning bed industry. In the meantime, your cat will eat a leaf from your Lady Palm tree and need to vomit later, but, fortuitously, not while he’s lying on your laptop and making the ——————————————————————————- key go haywire. So you type with your laptop tilted at a 60 degree angle, to keep it out of your cat’s reach, and he bites you. You’ll make jam until 2 in the morning.

Yeah, this recipe is for that day.

……/

(That’s enough, Bo.)

Chicken in Wine Sauce (adapted from a recipe in The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, by Paula Deen, © 1997, 1998 by Paula H. Deen, published by Random House, Inc., New York)

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (For best flavor, soak the raw chicken breasts in the fridge for 30 minutes in 2 quarts cold water into which you’ve dissolved 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup table salt. Rinse chicken breasts thoroughly after the 30-minute brining, then dry with paper towels and cut each piece in half.)

8 slices baby Swiss cheese

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1/3 cup white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup herb-flavored Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick vegetable spray. Place chicken breast pieces in pan.

2. Place a slice of baby Swiss cheese on top of each piece of chicken, tearing the cheese to fit as necessary.

3. In a bowl, combine the condensed soup, wine, and seasonings to taste. Dollop evenly over the cheese, scraping the bowl clean as you go so you can reuse the bowl for the next step, reducing the number of dishes you’ll have to handwash by one since the stinking dishwasher is broken again.

4. Crush the stuffing mix into little crumbs with your hands, visualizing the inventor of tanning beds, then combine with the melted butter and stir well. Sprinkle over the sauce-topped chicken. Bake for one hour, until bubbly and cooked through. Serve with rice.

Almost ready for the oven
Chicken in Wine Sauce, almost ready for the oven.

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