Chicken A La Russe
From Sea Wind Organics
Holidays are about traditions, passed down from one generation to the next and along the way there are some habits that become cultural touchstones. Turkey at Thanksgiving, a Christmas Ham, pumpkin or perhaps a pecan pie.
However, sometimes an untraditional dish becomes its own tradition as is the case with Sea Wind Farms Chicken a la Russe.
The chicken/green bean combination was developed by several generations of the family and has been passed down to become a favored holiday treat.
“It is a dish that has been in the family as long time and makes us feel like we are holding onto the family tradition,” said current recipe guardian Montana Lewis.
“It isn’t the most traditional holiday dish but in our family, it has become one of our traditions, so to us, when we indulge on the Chicken a la Russe, it reminds us of the Holiday Season.”
Lewis said the dish is “absolutely mouthwatering” and makes a great alternative for someone who wants to skip the more expected turkey or ham. It also utilizes the best seasonal vegetables.
He said those seasonal flavors, the color change in the leaves, the crispness in the air, and the warmth of family gatherings that are near are all key reminders that holidays are something to be savored. Like many families, Lewis has dreams of a white Christmas but as a farmer he ties his holiday memories to the work in his fields and the kinds of produce that will only grow at this time of year.
“It’s very important, because that is what makes the time of year special.
Our senses are memory triggers,” he said. “Certain vegetables only grow for short periods of time which makes cooking in holiday season unique, tasty and delicious. It wouldn’t feel like it was Thanksgiving or Christmas if we were munching on watermelon.”
Lewis said the holidays are a time for special dishes and his family utilizes a pot luck system that distributes the work brings a variety of dishes to the table, even tastes that don’t appeal to everyone.
He said despite the presence of the beans in the family’s chicken dish, a plate of nothing but beans isn’t universally welcomed at their table, especially when served as the traditional green bean casserole.
“For some in the family, they absolutely despise the flavor of green beans and that is a dish that others love which is something that is cooked and brought to every holiday party.
So usually half the room is fighting over the green beans while others are plugging their nose when nearby,” he said.
“The Chicken a la Russe also has green beans, but usually those that aren’t fond will just pick them out.”
Sea Wind Organics sells at the Saturday, Virginia Ave. Park market.
Chicken A La Russe
3 medium/large carrots, peeled, cut into 1” slices
6 small potatoes (we use russian) close in size, peeled
6 oz green beans
4-5 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb fresh sliced mushrooms
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tbsp mayonnaise, room temp
1/4 cup sour cream, room temp
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Place a rack in a wok or rack in a metal pan over two burners.
Pour water into wok until 1” below rack. Bring water to gentle boil of medium high heat.
Place carrots and potatoes on rack. Cover. Steam until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, about 22 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into quarters. Set aside. Place green beans in a shallow 9” baking dish.
Place a rack in wok. Add water, cover, steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Pound chicken until ¼” thick and cut into 1/2” strips. Sprinkle with salt.
Roll strips in flour. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add strips and cook until firm and white, 4 – 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms and stir fry for two minutes. Add cooked potatoes, carrots and green beans to mixture. Stir until hot, remove. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Pour over vegetables/meat. Place over low heat and stir until sauce thickens, about two minutes.