>Champagne — it’s not just for New Year’s toasting!

>The challenge: trying to get a full meal on the table using what I had available: one chicken breast, brown rice, and peas.

I figured some kind of sauce would help make the rice more of the main component, so I could slice the chicken breast thinly to extend it. But what could I make? I wanted to open some wine, but only had red, which doesn’t pair ideally with chicken.

What else? Well, I did have some sparkling wine in the fridge. Hmmm…

I love bubbly. A small, glass-bottle Coca-cola is pretty great, but there’s something so festive and fun about bubbly. Champagne. Sparkling wine. Whatever. It’s a celebration!

But I can’t open a bottle for just my hubby and me. He doesn’t like it all that much, which would leave an open bottle of bubbly…and me. Not as much fun drinking bubbly alone.

So I decided that there needed to be another reason for popping the cork.

Searching the internet provided some interesting possibilities. For example, here’s a fruit salad with a champagne dressing that sounds amazing. But I needed to get dinner on the table, and I didn’t have much to work with.

But after following many links the recipes for scallops and shrimp and others requiring ingredients I didn’t have, I decided to make my own.

Watch out! The cork is popped; I’m committed.

Here’s my recipe for a champagne sauce that I made up:

2 T butter
2 T (eye balled) olive oil
4 T flour
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried tarragon 
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
pepper (we love the stuff, so I gave a hefty shake)
3 T orange juice
3 T heavy cream
2 C bubbly (I used some cheap sparkling wine–Barefoot sparkling pinot grigio)

Depending on what you are cooking, I’d suggest pan cooking the chicken and then removing it to make the sauce in the same pan with leftover brown bits.
You’re going to make a roux. Melt the butter and olive oil together and add the flour, stirring until well blended. Add tarragon and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds or so. Add champagne and whisk constantly until thoroughly incorporated. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add mustard, OJ, and cream. Stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken back in and heat through.

Serve with brown rice and baby green peas.

Suggestion: Sip on a mimosa either as you cook or during the meal. There’s a cup of champagne left, so celebrate something!

YUM!

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