Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seasoned Chicken Breast over Garlic Sautéed Baby Spinach with a Spicy White Wine Strawberry Mango Reduction Paired with 2009 Ledson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Leson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Chicken Breast Strawberry Mango Reduction and Garlic Spinach

Wow, that’s a lot of words for the title of this post.  Considering the whole idea began with the humble strawberry, it seems a bit over the top.  So here is the story.  The other day I was motivated to construct a recipe and treat Chef Sue to a nice pairing.  I went to the fridge to see what was in stock and found a basket of strawberries that looked like they had another good day left before they became mulch.  Rather than waste these tasty morsels, they became the inspiring kernel for this recipe.

I have to admit a small measure of pride with this recipe because it is 100% my own.  Normally, I have an idea of what I want to achieve, search the internet for recipes that are similar to my idea, cobble together the best bits and pieces, and voila!  This recipe came directly from the small hollow space between my ears – and I like it.

2009 Leson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Chicken Breast Strawberry Mango Reduction and Garlic Spinach-2

Starting with the strawberries and the idea of a reduction to lather the chicken breasts (also sitting in the fridge and searching for a purpose in life), I knew the reduction would be very sweet and a wholly strawberry celebration.  With the chicken breast as a somewhat neutral element in the dish, I needed to add some balance to the strawberries.  Within the reduction I did this by adding a mango as another layer of flavor, and a tablespoon of red pepper flakes to offer some heat.  Finally, I completed the reduction with a cup of white wine to boost the acidity.

2009 Leson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Chicken Breast Strawberry Mango Reduction and Garlic Spinach-5

The recipe was further balanced by the garlic sautéed spinach.  This part of the recipe brought a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness in the reduction.  Gratefully, when fully composed, the dish was very well balanced.  I love it when a plan comes together (or luck is on my side)!

2009 Ledson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc-1

The 2009 Ledson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc was a perfect match for this recipe.  This wine is explosively fruity with the aroma dominated by pineapple.  The palate matches this bright fruitiness with rich fruit flavors, well balanced acidity and a pleasant mineral finish.  Each of these elements are a heavenly compliment to the recipe.  The sweetness mirrors the sweet notes of the reduction while balancing nicely with the heat.  The fruit flavors in both the reduction and the wine play nicely with each other, and the acidity forms another finely honed balancing act with the food.  This wine is a pleasure to drink alone, but it really shines in a pairing.  This pairing was dominated by complimentary flavors (vs. contrasting) and like the recipe components, was very well balanced.

The Recipe

I am presenting this recipe as three different components in the order of preparation.  The strawberry mango reduction takes about 45 minutes, the chicken 30, and the spinach about 5 minutes.  It is very easy, and very rewarding.

Spicy White Wine Strawberry and Mango Reduction

Spicy White Wine Strawberry Mango Reduction


  • 10 medium strawberries cleaned and diced
  • 1 medium mango, pealed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup white wine - in this case I used one cup of Barefoot Moscato, but anything would work fine sans oak
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Spicy White Wine Strawberry and Mango Reduction-1


  1. Place all ingredients in a pot on low heat.
  2. Stir and let simmer for 5 minute.
  3. Repeat step 2 until sauce begins to steam.
  4. Turn heat to medium and stir.
  5. Continue until the sauce reduces to a consistency you are comfortable with.  I achieved my desired consistency in roughly 45 minutes.

Spicy White Wine Strawberry and Mango Reduction-2

Seasoned Chicken Breast

Seasoned Chicken Breasts


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about one pound)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink in centers (165°F), turning once.
  2. Optionally, season and place on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (still looking for 165 degrees).  I used this option.
  3. Set aside - timing should coincide with sautéed spinach and spicy strawberry Mango Reduction

Garlic Sautéed Baby Spinach

Garlic Sauteed Baby Spinach


  • 1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Pat dry.
  2. In a very large pot or Dutch oven (my preference – uncooked spinach is voluminous and unwieldy), heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, just short of being browned.
  3. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes.
  4. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring until all the spinach is wilted.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Both Chef Sue and I did.  This recipe makes four servings which meant we had a great lunch the following day.  After a night in the fridge, the reduction seemed even better!

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


1 comment:

  1. The reduction sounds great! I will definitely have to try it. The photos are great too, I don't ever feel like I have enough time (or hands!) to take pictures of anything while I'm cooking... Props for multi-tasking.