Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chicken Florentine Gnocchi

Hello, everyone!  Today, I have a really simple treat for you.  Simple, yet tasty (I seem to say that a lot...what can I say, I like foods that are easy to prepare, yet can be dressed up for entertaining!); it is somewhat involved, time-wise, but very, very easy to make parts ahead of time.
I made this in two separate...sections, if you will.  I started off making the gnocchi, popped them in the freezer, then, at supper time, threw the rest of this together.  Each section took about 30 minutes, so even if you wanted to make it all at once, you're looking at an hour, tops.  That's not so bad, is it?
I don't know why people are so impressed when they hear that you made something like pasta or gnocchi from scratch, but they are!  I guess they don't know how easy it is to make, but when you present your family (or guests) with this homemade meal, accept their high praises and let them wash the dishes!  As a bonus, they'll be happy that there are a small amount of dishes involved with this, too! 
Ready to get started?  Me, too...
Here's your grocery list for this one:
For the gnocchi:
2 large Russet potatoes
2 C all purpose flour
1 egg, scrambled
1 tsp Kosher salt

For the chicken florentine:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 C fresh spinach
1 C dry white wine
1 C heavy cream
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

That's not so bad, is it?  Let's start off with making the gnocchi!  I have made a few confessions on this blog, and I'm about to add to that list.  I don't like mashed potatoes.  I don't care for the texture, but honestly, they're so rarely done well, that it just isn't worth my time.  When you get them in restaurants, they're normally just warmed over glue or stuff from a box.  Bleh.  
So, I say that, to say this:  we're going to start this off by making mashed potatoes.  Very basic mashed potatoes, but mashed potatoes nonetheless.  
To start off with, peel your Russet potatoes (I talk about the differences between the types of potatoes, briefly, here in my fancy potatoes post, but you can also see the different types of potatoes at work in my sinful potato gratin post and my patriotic potato salad post), and cut them up into roughly 1 inch chunks.  
As I'm cutting these up, I just toss them into a medium sized empty pot.  After they're all cut up, salt them with about 1 tsp of Kosher salt, and cover them with water, until you have about 1 inch of water over the top of the potatoes.  Cover, and bring this up to a boil over medium heat on a stovetop, let the potatoes boil for about 12-15 minutes, until you're able to pierce the potatoes with the tip of a knife, with no resistance.   

Drain your potatoes, and, while still hot, run them through either a ricer or a food mill.  This step is important, because really, almost any other method of mashing your potatoes will end up in overworking the potatoes, which will result in really heavy gnocchi, which is not what you want.  The less you work with these potatoes, the lighter your gnocchi will be, and having a light and fluffy gnocchi is what you're really after here.  
So, with that said, run your potatoes through your ricer, or the food mill.  

Once all of your potatoes have been run through, gently mix in the flour and salt, but do be careful-the potatoes will still be hot.   

 Now then, put your egg into a separate bowl and beat it well, then add it into your potato/flour mixture, and mix until it is just barely incorporated.  
This will look like a mess, but don't worry, just dump it out onto the counter, and very, very gently knead it until it just comes together.   
Divide your dough ball into 8 balls, and roll each ball, one at a time, into a roughly 15 inch rope.  Cut little gnocchis off of each rope, and place them onto a baking sheet, covered in either parchment paper, or wax paper.  I like to make these, and pop the baking sheets directly into the freezer.  Once the gnocchi are frozen, just toss them into a freezer safe zip top bag, and they're ready to go at a moment's notice, no thawing necessary. 

Now then, that wasn't so bad!  Like I said earlier, from start to finish, making the gnocchi took me about 30 minutes, so this would be great to make during the weekend, pop in the freezer, ready for a quick weeknight meal, like the rest of this one!
take your chicken and slice it horizontally across, so that you get little chicken disks; these will shrink a little bit and end up being roughly the same size as the gnocchi.  After all of your chicken has been cut up, season with salt, and preheat a deep sided skillet over medium high heat.   
Once your pan has preheated, add in the olive oil, and put the chicken in, and do what you can to make the chicken lay in one layer.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but you want all of the chicken to get equal love with the heat.  Cook this over medium high heat until your chicken has reached a lovely golden color, remove your chicken to a plate, to await further instruction!


Now that your pan is empty, lets fill it back up!  Without wiping out your pan, add the butter, add in your garlic and your sun-dried tomatoes.  I cut my sun-dried tomatoes up in little pieces, because I don't care for large chunks of sun-dried tomatoes, but feel free to leave yours whatever size you'd like.  Also, in a separate medium sized pot, bring a pot of water up to a boil for the gnocchi - I used the same pot I boiled my potatoes in originally.  
After a minute or two, with the pan over medium low heat, add in your white wine, and let this gently reduce for a few minutes, before adding in the spinach.  Let the spinach cook with the rest of this loveliness for about 5 minutes. 

So yummy!  At this point, add in the cream, and stir continuously for another 5 minutes, before sprinkling in the Parmesan cheese, small handful at a time.    
Add your chicken back in, to get to know the rest of this yummy dish, and get coated with the sauce, and toss in however much gnocchi you want, into the pot of boiling water.  If you're taking these directly out of the freezer, as I did, your water temperature will drop, but it will come back up, don't worry.  These gnocchi will cook pretty quickly, in about 5 minutes - you'll know they're ready when they float to the top.   

After you pull your lovely gnocchi out, put them directly into the sauce with the chicken, and cook them with everything else, for another minute or so, to just get coated in the sauce.  This is now ready to be dished up and devoured!  
This also reheats beautifully - store whatever you have leftover (if you have any leftover) in the fridge, then reheat gently over medium low heat until everything relaxes back into this amazing sauce, and again, devour!
This will absolutely be a part of our meal rotation!  Please, let me know if you try this!