Cognac Infused Herb-roasted Chicken

I used to do this dish with a whole roasting chicken, but I find the presentation is nicer if each person has their own chicken breast. It's also a lot easier when it comes time to plate the meal, so you're not trying to carve a chicken while chatting with your guests.

For 4

Ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts (about 2 #), either on the bone or not
8 - 10 Cloves of Garlic
3 Scallions
2 T Fresh Basil
1 T Fresh Tarragon
1 T Fresh Oregano
1 T Fresh Thyme
½ T Fresh Parsley
1 t Cumin
A Few Dashes of Red Pepper Flakes
Dash of Paprika
Black Pepper
Salt
¾ Cup Cognac
2 T Olive Oil
4 T Butter

Directions

Slice 3 of your garlic cloves into little slivers, and set aside.

Rinse your chicken breasts, and with a sharp knife pierce the breasts about 10 times, so as to create little slits. Take your garlic slivers and push them into these slits. Now take about 4 T of cognac and pour it into the garlic stuffed holes - whatever cognac you have left over pour over the breasts, and rub in. Cover with Saran Wrap, and put in the fridge for an hour or so.

Chop up your basil, tarragon, oregano, thyme, and parsley, and put into a bowl. Add your cumin, red pepper flakes, and paprika, and toss it all together with your fingers, so as to get all the herbs mixed together. Set this aside.

Slice the rest of your garlic into little slices, and cut your scallions into slices, going about halfway up the stalks. Set these aside.

As your "hour or so" is coming to an end, turn your oven to 350°. Take a cast iron pan or a sauté pan, put 2T of olive oil and 2 T butter in it, and set it over a high flame.

Take your chicken breasts out of the fridge, remove the Saran Wrap, and sprinkle salt and pepper over the breasts. Now take your herb mixture and put it over the breasts, patting it in so as to not have it falling all over the place (it will a little, but don't worry about it).

Your pan should be good and hot now - so take your breasts and place them herb side down into the pan. You're only going to be searing them, so get a pair of tongs ready. After about 2 minutes, flip the chicken breasts, and cook for another couple of minutes. Once you've done that, flip the breasts back over, add any leftover herb mixture, your garlic and scallions, 2 more T of butter, and add 4 T of cognac to the pan. Light a match, and flame off the cognac. Once the flames have died down, remove the pan from the flame, and put in your pre-heated oven for about 25 - 30 minutes.

Garlic mashed potatoes go great with this meal, so if you want to have them, right about now is a great time to get some potatoes and garlic boiling, so it all comes together timing-wise...

Once 25 minutes have passed, being sure to have a heavy-duty oven mitt (as your pan will be very hot), take your pan out of the oven to see if your chicken is done. If a sharp knife can easily go in and out of the breasts, they're done (you may be able to see a clear liquid from where you poke them with a knife, but with everything else that's going on in the pan, you might not be able to see it). If you're not sure or like your chicken a little more cooked, pop it back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

OK - once the chicken's done, remove the pan from the oven, and set back on a burner over medium heat. If you're having garlic mashed potatoes, put a mound in the center of a plate, and lay a breast on the potatoes. Back to your pan - pour a little cognac in the pan and flame it off, and spoon your herb/cognac/garlic/scallion mixture over the breast, and artistically around the rim of the plate.

Enjoy!

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