Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicken Breasts with Pancetta Cream and Peas

We were so impressed with this recipe that we thought it qualified as a special Sunday dinner. The sauce tastes as rich and creamy as a Béchamel, but actually it’s just a white wine and chicken broth based sauce made from the fond left in the pan from browning the chicken and thickened with a small amount of mascarpone and a bit of flour. Baby English peas are scattered across the top for color and additional flavor.

Both the chicken and sauce come together in under 45 minutes and would be a welcome addition to your list of dinner party recipes or would come in handy when you have a house guests. I served it with tomatoes Provençal, link to recipe here.

It’s one of Cooking Light’s most popular recipes ever. Feel free to substitute bacon for the pancetta and for the mascarpone I used cream cheese because I had it on hand. Don’t pass this one by.

Chicken Breasts with Pancetta Cream and Peas
Adapted from Cooking Light’s The Weeknight Chicken Book – serves 4
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 tablespoons mascarpone or cream cheese – I used low fat cream cheese
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (unthawed worked fine)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove garlic from pan using a slotted spoon, and then set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add pancetta and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan using a slotted spoon and reserve.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and sauté 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until the liquid almost evaporates (about 3 minutes). Return chicken to pan. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 6 – 8 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.

Add mascarpone or cream cheese to pan and stir with a whisk until smooth. Combine water and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pan. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and creamy. Stir in reserved pancetta, garlic, and peas. Cook 1 minute. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Cook's notes: If you don't serve this with something red such as the tomato Provencal and want to add a bit of color, you can add some red bell pepper, cut up in small pieces and sauteed until crispy to the sauce. We did that with the left-overs and it was delicious as well as pretty.

For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

I’ll be sharing this with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms and Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen’s Full Plate Thursday.


Onto an another note - Life is full of surprises. One minute you're on top of your game & the next minute you're flat on your face. That's exactly what happened to me. The other day I was flying high and feeling great and before I knew what happened, I tripped on a step and found myself flat on my face on the concrete - literally flat on my face. Needless to say that has definitely taken the wind out of my sails.

Add to that - we depart in a matter of days for a 2 month adventure in Provence and the South of France. Consequently those two things have altered my plans somewhat for the blog. I thought I would have time to prepare some preplanned posts for you and have them come on automatically while we were gone, but that plan flew out of the window with my fall. I'm black & blue (add to that a black eye and bruises on my face), am very sore and quite frankly just not up to the task. But I do know I lucky I am and how much worse it could have been. We are still excited about the trip and I do have a new post scheduled for next week to tell you about our trip and where we're going. 

For those of you who follow My Carolina Kitchen on Facebook, you can catch me there while we're gone. I plan to post some pictures from time to time while we're away. Click here to follow on our trip on Facebook. 

So I'll leave you with an à bientôt (see you soon) and lots of promises for many fun-filled posts about Provence & the South of France when we return near the end of June. Next week I'll explain where we're going and some of the things we plan to see. 

In the meantime, take care everyone and I hope you have a lovely spring.

Sam & Meakin


  1. This dish looks really scrumptious!



  2. Your dinner looks great Sam, I'd like to try it! So sorry to hear about your fall, while never good, especially bad right before vacation! Here's wishing you a wonderful trip (of the vaca variety:@)-enjoy every minute!

  3. This dinner sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    I am so sorry for your fall and the subsequent soreness and bruises.

    Have a wonderful 2 month trip! It sounds fantastic.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. This is not only healthy, nutritious, also very delicious. I eat chicken breast VERY OFTEN (just put another 1kg in my slow cooker) and this is definitely my kind of meal.
    Have a great time in France, Sam!

  5. That chicken looks and sounds delicious. Will add it to my file. I know the surprise of a fall--something I did three year's ago and have no idea why or how. I ended up fracturing my wrist!! So glad that this isn't interfering with your trip. I look forward to enjoying your adventures!! Happy trails to you and Meakin!!


  6. Geesh..:(
    Poor you Sam..
    these types of accidents happen often..(to me too)..
    Take care Sam..
    I like this kind of sauce.I bet it is great.

  7. So sorry about your fall, Sam. I expected to read you knocked some teeth out, as that exact same fall happened to a friend of mine and she lost 3 teeth! I guess when you look at it from her viewpoint, a black and blue face isn't so bad! :( Took her months of dentistry.)
    Anyway, how exciting your trip sounds! I am envious and look forward to all your Facebook photos.
    Your chicken dish looks simple to make and full of flavors. I actually have some mascarpone in the fridge right now. But...those tomatoes look divine. Can't wait for that recipe.
    Take care and heal fast! Thinking of you..

  8. It is easy to see why this is a popular recipe Sam. I cab't wait for garden fresh peas <3

  9. So sorry about your fall Sam. We seem to be leading parallel lives. I fell last Saturday chasing my dog who got away. I've done some real damage to my leg; sprained ankle? Black and blue. Walking is hard. Have a wonderful two months in France. Wish I were going too.

  10. The chicken looks delicious, Sam! Sorry to hear about your fall and hope you are on the mend soon. I fell running down the steps to the garage a couple of months ago, and hurt my fingers, having to get my wedding rings cut off as the finger swelled up immediately, and still tender. Then in a freak accident, Bill ran over my foot, stopped the car on it as I was getting out of the back seat. It left tire marks on my whole foot, didn't hurt at all, I continued shopping, etc. went to the ER later, it was fine. Crazy! I can imagine how scary the fall was for you, but you have a fantastic trip to look forward to, and I am looking forward to hearing all about it. A bientot!

  11. Sam, This chicken recipe...the whole meal looks terrific! I'll be interested in that tomato recipe too... Sorry to hear about your fall! Ouch! That's a heck of a way to start your big pun intended. Heal quickly! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  12. Hello Sam,
    Looks delicious and I love that it does not take too long to make. The stuffed tomato also looks great. The peas are a fabulous contrast too. Are you packing in anticipation of your trip to France?
    Helen xx

  13. I seem to be more accident prone when I'm slightly stressed and have lots to do. I actually sliced off half of one fingernail including some of the soft tissue underneath while chopping rosemary for our big party last weekend. Nothing like a face plant but it hurt like crazy! Lesson ~ slow down and enjoy what's coming. I hope you have a wonderful trip Sam and can't wait to see photos.

    This chicken dish sounds amazing and I'm going to try it soon!

  14. The meal looks great and I like the color added by the peas. Sorry to hear about the fall and glad you will survive and it will not stop the trip - didn't realize it was such a long one. We hope you have a wonderful time and we are incredibly envious. Looking forward to hearing about the trip.

  15. Some times you're the windshield some times you're the bug. I think they wrote a song about it...:) Hope you heal quickly.

    So happy you are going to France. Can't wait to here all about. I hope to get there someday, but for now I am happy hearing about your trip.

    I pinned your chicken under dinner, but I have to say I think I could be perfectly happy with those tomatoes.

    Have a great trip.

  16. It's lunchtime here and I'm swooning!

  17. The recipe looks wonderful and your upcoming trip is like a dream. Have fun and we'll be looking forward to pictures and more recipes. And watch those steps!

  18. The sauce for this chicken sounds fabulous, Sam!

    I'm so sorry to hear about your fall. You are fortunate not to have not broken any bones!

    Have a wonderful time in France--what a dream vacation!

  19. Sam, what a great chicken recipe you shared and since it's from Cooking Light, there's less guilt! Whoa, what a fall you had; so glad you're on the mend. I replied to a Gmail you sent way back in February (I never check that account) and now I understand why I haven't heard back from you. If you're going to Modena, check out the tours of how balsamic vinegar is made, go to the Ferrari museum (fabulous tour) that even this non-car fanatic enjoyed, and try to get into Hosteria Giusti (it is very small with only a few tables, so call EARLY). Also try to get to Parma for a tour on making parmesan cheese. HAVE A SUPERB TIME on your trip to France!

  20. Sam, I hope you recuperate and have a great trip (no pun intended). I hope to try this recipe - either here in NC or in my new home in Florida, after Aug 1. We've decided to share resources with our kids, and that means lots of cooking for me. I think that this dish will be a hit.

  21. So sorry about your fall but I hope by now you are well over it and enjoying the sun in Provence. Love this recipe, I have made a note of it and it will be on the table here very soon. Will take a look at your FB and see how things are going. Take care Diane

  22. What a pretty and easy meal to put together. So very sorry about your fall. Thank goodness that you weren't hurt more seriously. I'm glad it won't stop you and Meakin from going on your wonderful trip…I know it will be fantastic.

  23. This looks like the perfect spring dish, Sam! I've been on a real pea kick this spring and this recipe really caught my eye. Beautiful dish!

    Bill @


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