This year, instead of our annual swanky dinner date at Maze at The London (Gordon Ramsay may be an ass, but he makes some seriously tasty food) we decided to go on a Rock 'n Roll Boat Cruise on the East River, featuring Electric Six. Here's hoping it's awesome. If they play that song more than once, it will be.
That said, this Rock 'n Roll Gourmet likes to have things both ways, so I have a surprise lunch date set at Maze for Friday afternoon. That way we get a Rock 'n Roll Boat Cruise as well as some semblance of our romantic tradition.
And I'm not ruining any surprises because the hubs never reads my blog.
(Frown-y face and tiny violins....)
This meal was really all about the Leek & White Bean Purée, which was based on a Jamie Oliver recipe I copied down after seeing it on "Jamie at Home" or some such program, but with a little tweaking. What I came up with was so tasty, I used it as the bed for some very basic chicken, but it would also work as a sauce in place of gravy, and it can count as your vegetable. It's very versatile!!
For the chicken breasts, I seasoned them with salt and minced fresh thyme, adding them to the browning diced shallot and olive oil. The usual 7 minutes on the first side until 1/2-2/3 opaque, and then flip, etc..
Finish the chicken breasts with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
For the Leek & White Bean Purée: (this was just enough to make a bed for 2 chicken breasts with a little left over. Adjust accordingly. I certainly will in the future.)
1 cup sliced leek (you can sub a large yellow onion)
3/4 - 1 can of cannellini beans
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 TBSP half & half (or cream) (that's a rough estimate)
1 TSP mascarpone (optional decadence)
chicken stock (Only if you want to thin it into more of a sauce or if you added "too much" mascarpone. Ha!)
Sauté leeks on medium in 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP butter until soft and beginning to caramelize. Salt well.
When the leeks have mostly browned, grate the clove of garlic into the mix. Then add about 1/4 cup of white wine and cook for 2 minutes.
Next I put the can of rinsed white beans into the mini food processor with a splash of water and puréed them all until smooth. Then transfer them to the hot pan and cook an additional 3 minutes.
Loosen the mixture with about a tablespoon of half and half, and finish off the heat with 1 heaping teaspoon of mascarpone cheese. Stir to combine.
Check for seasoning (it will need a decent amount of salt), and finish with a drizzle of lemon juice. (Maybe a TSP or two. Taste as you add it.) You can add some of the lemon zest while you're at it.