Easy, Elegant Entertaining With a French Flair

Elegant entertaining is easy with help from Wini Moranville, author of “The Bonne Femme Cookbook.” The title, meaning “the good wife” in French, refers to fresh and delicious cuisine served at home, no matter who does the cooking. Breeze through the hectic holiday season with a touch of French flair by following these simple suggestions.

Welcome guests with bowls of salted almonds and olives. Add a touch of vintage glamour with a classic cocktail like the Sidecar, made with Cognac, fresh lemon juice and triple sec. Moranville’s time-saving tip: whip up a pitcher of drinks before friends arrive. Landy Cognac V.S. has delightful floral and orange aromas. From renowned spirits producer Cognac-Ferrand, its friendly price ($25) is also easy on the budget.

Create a show-stopping yet fuss-free course for the main event. Even Julia Child would approve of the updated classic French dish, Chicken Véronique — chicken breasts with grapes in a white wine sauce, which takes less than 30 minutes. Wondering which wine to use? Château Bonnet Blanc, a crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc blend from Bordeaux, works beautifully in recipes, and you can enjoy the rest of the bottle with dinner. Since old-fashioned food and wine pairing rules no longer apply, serve both a red and white and let guests make their own choices. Château Bonnet Rouge, a lively, fruity Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend allows the flavors of the meal to shine through. Both Château Bonnet wines, from acclaimed producer Andre Lurton, add understated elegance to your evening at under $15 a bottle.

So turn any night into a celebration—it’s simpler than you think! For more tips and food and drink recipes, visit chezbonnefemme.com.

Chicken Véronique
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

1.    Place each chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap, pound until 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shake off excess.

2.    In large skillet, melt 1 T. of butter and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until no longer pink inside, turning once (reduce heat if chicken browns too quickly). Transfer chicken to platter; cover with foil, keep warm.

3.    Add garlic to skillet; sauté briefly. Carefully add chicken broth, white wine, balsamic vinegar. Boil until liquid reduces to 1/2 cup. Whisk in honey. Whisk in 1 T. butter until melted. Sauce should be slightly syrupy (boil a little longer if not). Add grapes and heat through. To serve, spoon grapes and sauce over chicken.

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