Sargent Choice Cooking
BU’s executive chef prepares a winter feast of pan-seared chicken with sage| From Commonwealth | By Bari Walsh, Video by Alan Wong
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Move over, Iron Chefs. BU has its own culinary king: executive chef Walter Dunphy, who is appearing before the cameras to prepare a healthful and scrumptious midwinter meal for Bostonia’s online audience. Dunphy makes a meal whose recipe he created especially for alumni, one that features the traditional flavors of a New England winter: pan-seared chicken with sage over a salad of warm wild rice, butternut squash, and sun-dried fruit, accompanied by sautéed haricots verts.
The recipe follows guidelines established by BU’s Sargent Choice program, a three-year-old nutritional and culinary collaboration between the dietitians at Sargent College and the chefs at BU’s Dining Services. Using whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and heart-healthy oils, Sargent’s nutritionists create healthy and delicious (that’s insisted upon) recipes for baked goods, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and even desserts. Then Dining Services prepares them for sale in retail outlets and at dining halls across campus, where they’ve become a familiar and healthy alternative to cheese fries or mystery Chinese.
“The great thing about this meal is that it’s relatively easy to put together, but it seems complex when you deliver it to your family,” Dunphy says. “They’ll think you’re kind of a pro. And it’s also very healthy.”
Dunphy, a chef for more than twenty years, oversees several hundred culinary employees, supervises a catering staff that runs more than 4,000 events annually, and heads all campus-wide culinary initiatives. He has prepared meals for many dignitaries and celebrities, including President George W. Bush, poet and author Maya Angelou, former First Lady Barbara Bush (Hon.’89), Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey.
Pan-Seared Chicken over a Salad of Warm Wild Rice, Butternut Squash, and Sun-Dried Fruit, sided by Sautéed Haricots Verts
We asked Chef Walter Dunphy for some of his recipes. He shares his secrets below.
Pan-Seared Chicken with Sage
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon finely minced sage
1 teaspoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup apple cider
Set a 12-inch sauté pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the chicken breast with kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the fresh ground white pepper. Sprinkle with the fresh-cut herbs and lightly press. With your hand, lightly dust the chicken breasts with the white whole wheat flour. Place the chicken herbed side down in the pan and sear while shaking it to keep loose until the chicken becomes caramelized and golden in color, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip chicken breast and add apple cider, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes and allowing cider to reduce a bit. Lower the flame and allow chicken to poach in the cider reduction for about another 3 minutes. Check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Salad of warm wild rice, butternut squash, and sun-dried fruit
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut to half-inch dice
3/8 cup sun-dried cranberries
1/4 cup Vidalia onion, small dice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon finely minced sage
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup sun-dried apricots, julienned (garnish)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Place dried cranberries in a bowl, cover with cider, and allow to rehydrate for 20 minutes.
Place squash in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with cool water. Place over a medium-high flame and bring to a simmer; allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until just fork tender. Remove from heat, strain in a colander, and run cool water over them to stop the cooking.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Add Vidalia onions, moving constantly so they do not burn, and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes; add squash. Remove berries with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid, and add the berries to the pan, shaking often. Season with salt, pepper, and sage and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the reserved liquid from the cranberries and allow reducing by 2/3, about 3 more minutes. Remove and allow the squash to cool.
2/3 cup long-grain wild rice
3 cups water
Rinse wild rice in a sieve under cold water and then combine with cold water to cover by 2 inches in a 5-quart pot. Simmer, covered, until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add water if needed. Rice should be slightly al dente.
Combine with butternut squash mixture and hold warm for service.
4 cups haricots verts (snipped and washed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
In a medium sautepan over high heat, add oil, bring to a high heat but not smoking, and add beans. Sauté shaking and flipping occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add a ladle or two of water and season and cook for an additional 2 minutes until bright and tender. The beans should remain slightly crisp to the tooth.
In the center of the plate, place 1 cup of the wild rice salad and 1 cup of the haricots verts. Using a sharp knife cut each chicken breast into three slices on the bias and place over the top of the vegetables. Sauce with the remaining apple cider reduction and garnish with the julienned dried apricot.
Approximate cooking time 25 minutes
Nutrition facts per serving:
7g total fat (1 gram saturated fat)
60g carbohydrates (8 grams fiber)
(Percent of daily vitamins)
Vitamin A 170%
Vitamin C 60