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I skirted the boundaries today, toed the line, if you will. 

Today, I was looking through old posts and trying to figure out what to make. While sitting, laptop on my lap, notebook by my side, pen tapped against the side of the laptop, I mused.

Barbecue chicken… No, there’s no barbecue sauce to be had in the house…

…Cacciatore? Maybe. I certainly have the egg noodles, tomatoes, chilies, but no bell peppers…

… Alfredo? Have I written a post about alfredo yet? 

Sure enough, I had. However, said post didn’t include a recipe, just pictures. 

Huh.

But then I thought about it. I had ricotta upstairs in the fridge, chili peppers in the pantry, tomato sauce, tomatoes… I could do something with that. I could save the alfredo for a rainy day.

So, I headed upstairs armed with music, my telephone, some courage and determination. I took the ricotta from the fridge, grabbed the tomatoes from the counter and was about to set to work. When I opened the ricotta, it was curdled and not exactly the best of colours to be cooking with. Instinctively, my nose wrinkled in disgust and I set it aside, to be pitched later. Fine, I could make due without it, I still had the tomatoes.

No I didn’t. Upon further inspection, they had begun to grow soft and had turned.

Now there was no chance of anything with a red sauce. It seemed that it would have to wait until a rainy day.

I stood there, pen tucked behind my ear, hair back, thoughtful.

Now what?

Slowly, it came to me. I didn’t hesitate to grab the remaining uncooked chicken from yesterday, the Gruyère, heavy whipping cream, and stock from the fridge. I placed them on the stove and went back to the pantry in the hall, grabbing the egg noodles. It was coming together, slowly, but an idea was forming in my head. 

Just like yesterday, I plucked a cutting board from it’s home and grabbed the garlic. Unlike yesterday, today I was breaking in a new bulb of garlic. I finally broke through all of the skin surrounding the cluster of cloves and began pulling them off. I figured six would do. 

The rhythm of my knife meeting the cutting mat matched the beat of the current song being played. Like yesterday, my foot tapped in time to the music. This was bliss. As soon as the garlic was chopped, I put it into the pan where I would be building the sauce. Today, I wasn’t using the really big pan, but the smaller sauce pan, one that I had built sauces in before and felt comfortable with. 

While the garlic puffed up and began to smell absolutely delightful, I moved around the kitchen, gathering other necessary tools of the trade: a wooden spoon, the spatula, a whisk… You get the idea. Because I wasn’t doing anything to the chicken today, when the garlic turned gold, I placed the chicken in the pan and listened to the satisfying sizzle. I was in familiar territory with this sauce, I trusted myself to do this, after all, I’d done it loads of times before. 

When three (3) minutes had elapsed, and I was done yet again sliding around in my socks, I flipped the chicken over. There was still some pink, but that was because it was a tight fit in this pan (I should really pick up some more skillets for cooking in, going from small to incredibly large can be cumbersome). Besides, the chicken still looked delicious. 

After throwing some blend of Italian herbs at the chicken, I waited for it to finish cooking on the other side and added some of the chicken stock. I didn’t need measurements, but if you’re asking: it covered the chicken nearly completely. 

I made a small mental note to myself to let the chicken cook undisturbed for ten (10) minutes. While it simmered away in the chicken stock, I adjusted the volume settings on my iPod, chatted with Mum, even discovered that my sister was home from school today. When I came back, the chicken looked succulent and I discovered it had cooked through while I was preoccupied. 

I reduced the heat from medium-low, down to low and transferred the chicken to a bowl. It was tempting to try a piece (only a small one), but I didn’t; there would be time for that later. For now, the chicken had to cool so I could shred it and put it back into the sauce. 

To the simmering remnants of the chicken stock and juices, I added butter and whisked it until smooth before adding a pint of heavy whipping cream. Again, this was all familiar for me, I could do this with my eyes closed. I just had to remember not to put a lid on the pan from this point out. 

While the mix simmered, I went looking for the grater. Finally fed up at having not found the little grater that I prefer to use, I went and asked mum about using the mandolin. She told me it was clean and where it usually is. I retrieved it, but not without a sense of apprehension. If I were to slip, it could be a painful mistake. 

Before rubbing the cheese up and down the grater, I placed a paper towel on it to keep my fingers from getting oily. I worked slowly and diligently, careful not to slip. It must have been fifteen minutes before I produced three bowls of shredded Gruyère. 

With care, I folded the cheese, one bowl at a time, into the sauce. Slowly it turned pale beige and took on a delightful aroma. 

By now, the sauce had been on the stove for what felt like an hour. I retrieved the chicken and began shredding it. I pulled it apart gently with my fingers and when my sister wandered in, she commented on how juicy it looked. I was pleased that it didn’t dry out despite the outward appearance. It came apart easily and smelled divine. It was all I could do to not try more than one of the little pieces. 

Taking mum’s black pot from the cabinet, I filled it with cold water and hefted it back over to the stove. Now that the chicken was simmering in the sauce, the aroma in the kitchen took on a new layer. It was delightful. Peering in at the sauce while it bubbled away, it looked like it had the consistency of a fondue. 

Keeping the heat on two (2) or three (3), I gave the sauce another stir and kept an eye on the pot. It had begun to boil, but it wasn’t the roiling boil that I wanted. While I waited for the water to reach that level of boiling, I took notes on the the recipe so far. It was, I decided, a Swiss take on my favourite dish to make. It had seemed to write itself, nothing had been forced; there was certainly no uncertainty present in the kitchen today.

Finally the water was a roiling boil. 

I added the egg noodles and took a step back to appreciate my handy work. Sure, there were things scattered all over the stove top; but they were all necessary. The sauce simmered away, the pasta bubbled. It was perfect.

As seems to be the norm with pasta, the seven (7) minutes it took for the noodles to cook flew by. Soon they were in the blue colander, back on top of the black pan. 

Now I could start assembling. Though the sauce looked like fondue, it turned out that it was thin. But, the noodles soaked it up and the chicken looked delicious. 

I picked at the chicken and found that it was juicy, and it fell apart, melting in my mouth. The noodles soaked up the sauce and they tasted delicious. This truly was a Swiss take on my favourite dish to make. It, in my opinion, did taste better than if I had used the Parmesan cheese.

~Recipe: A Swiss Take on Alfredo~

I looked around this morning, finding that nobody had any recipes for a Gruyere and Chicken sauce. Is it even acceptable? Who knows? But I found it to be fun to make and full of flavour when I was eating. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless chicken tenders
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • Egg noodles

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. When the oil is heated, add the garlic.
  2. When the garlic has puffed up and taken on a golden colour, add the chicken.
  3. Sear the chicken for three (3) minutes on both sides for six (6) minutes total, or until chicken is no longer pink, over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chicken stock, reduce heat, put a lid on it and let simmer for ten (10) minutes. After five (5) minutes, turn the chicken over.
  5. When the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside.
  6. Add 2 TBSP to the sauce and whisk until smooth.
  7. Reduce the heat and add cream.
  8. One (1) cup at a time, fold in the grated Gruyère cheese over low heat.
  9. Shred the chicken with your fingers (or two forks if you’d like) and reintroduce it to the sauce.
  10. Cook the egg noodles according to package direction.
  11. Toss the noodles with the sauce, or serve the sauce over the noodles.
  12. Serve with garlic bread or salad
  13. Enjoy!
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