Introduction: Chicken in Vermouth and Caper Sauce

I had some yoghurt (yogurt in the US) left over from making some curries, and most of a bottle of vermouth from serving martinis. So how to use them up.

This dish is really easy and I was amazed at how well it turned out. Those folk of an age to remember the tinned "Home Pride Cook-In Sauce" range will be stunned at how closely this dish approximates the "Chicken in White Wine" sauce. (But this looks much better than the grey-green of the canned sauce.)

The recipe is attached as a file to the next step, so you can print it out if you don't want yoghurt on your iPad.

The night before you cook, or first thing in the morning of the day, take your chicken breasts and cut them in halves. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, then cover them all in yoghurt and put in a container in the refrigerator to marinade.

Step 1: Brown the Chicken

Mix together the flour, the paprika, the salt and pepper in a bowl.

Take the chicken in yoghurt out of the fridge.

Scrape most of the yoghurt from the outside of the pieces of meat, pat them dry with a paper towel and coat them in the flour mixture. Retain the yoghurt which you've scraped off the meat for a later step.

Melt the butter in the frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.

Once the fat mixture is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on each side (it took two batches for me).

Once the chicken pieces are browned on each side, remove them from the pan and put them into a saucepan which has a tight-fitting lid.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

Take the bulb of garlic, break it up into individual cloves, peel them and chop them into thin slices (2mm, 1/8").

Juice the lemons into a container.

Drain the capers.

Step 3: Make and Reduce the Sauce

Once the chicken has all been browned and put into the saucepan, add the lemon juice, the garlic, the vermouth, the capers and the yoghurt which was scraped off the meat in the earlier step.

Let this reduce until it is about half the volume it was to start with.

If you like more sauce, then don't reduce as much, but add some flour/cornflour/arrowroot to thicken it up.

The smell from this stage is just gorgeous.

Step 4: Cooking the Chicken

Pour the thickened mixture into the saucepan over the browned chicken.

Put a close-fitting lid on the pan, and simmer over a low heat for twenty minutes to half an hour.

Step 5: Serving and Alterations

I served this with mashed potatoes, roast carrots and steamed broccolli.

Trying the chicken with a couscous or wild rice would be interesting.

I'm sure that white wine could be substituted for vermouth, though you might want to add a teaspoon of white sugar to the sauce.
Similarly, white grape-juice could probably be used (possibly with some sugar and a dash of vinegar?)

If you do change anything, I feel that the strength of the recipe is the balance between the astringency of the lemon and capers, softened by the sweetness of the wine and the poached garlic and all wrapped in the weight of the yoghurt. Do let me know if/what you changed and how it turned out :-)