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Eat and Drink

Mile End Deli's Spring Chicken with Schmaltz Recipe

Peas help lighten up this schmaltz-y chicken!

Peas help lighten up this schmaltz-y chicken! Photo Credit: Mile End

Serves 4


1/2 cup fresh English Peas
5 tablespoons canola oil
4 Chicken Breasts
3 Scallions, chopped into 1-inch lengths
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 cups coarsley chopped escarole, washed and drained
2 cups chicken stock
4 heaping tablespoons Chicken Confit (optional)
4 teaspoons spicy brown mustard, such as Gulden's 
8 Tablespoons Schmaltz Vinaigrette **
3 to 4 slices stale Rye Bread torn into 1-2 inch pieces
Pinch of Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

**Mile End Schmaltz Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup of schmaltz
1 small shallot (minced)
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the peas. Return to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove 1 or 2 from the pot and taste them. When the peas have lost most of their starchiness and taste perceptibly sweeter, they are done. Strain them, and shock them in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chicken breasts, skin side down, until nicely browned, 3 - 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, flip the breasts, and continue searing them until they're heated through, 3-4 minutes more. Transfer the breasts to the oven to keep them warm.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and allow them to color slightly. Add the thyme and let it sizzle for a few seconds to flavor the oil. Then add the escarole; toss to coat the leaves with the oil and wilt them slightly, 10-15 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock and let it come to a brisk simmer.

Add the chicken confit, mustard, and schmaltz vinaigrette; toss to combine thoroughly. Let the sauce simmer and reduce, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened, 4 - 5 minutes. Then add the chives and rye bread. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and continue to toss and cook for another 20-30 seconds, then remove the skillet from the heat.

Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and slice each of them crossfire on a deep bias into 3 roughly equal-size segments. Divide the sauce evenly among 4 serving plates, pooling it in the center of the plate, and place 1 sliced chicken breast on each plate.

In a small bowl, toss the blanched peas with the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Sprinkle the peas over the chicken breasts and serve.

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