The Honorable John Raines (1840-1909) from Canandaigua is remembered today not only for his service in the New York State Senate, but also for his good taste. In a city renowned for its stately and beautiful homes, for instance, Raines owned two of the best – the Octagon House on the corner of Gorham and Wood streets and Thendara, his summer retreat on Canandaigua Lake. Even before the 14-room “cottage” and boathouse were built on the East Lake shore, Raines hosted important visitors and local civic groups there where picnics and clambakes were enjoyed by all.
This recipe originated in Raines’ household, and was handed down from generation to generation. Today it rests in the hands of Raines’ great-grandnephew Alexander T. Bacon, executive chef at Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake.
“The recipe originally used a white vermouth wine,” he explains. “My grandmother, Mrs. Alexander G. Thompson, switched it to a dry white wine manufactured by a small, local winery – Canandaigua Industries, now known as Constellation Brands!
“My mother, Edith Elaine Thompson Bacon, copied the ingredients verbatim, except she used a dry Chablis,” he adds. “Since then, I have changed three recipe items.
1. I use my own homemade chicken broth;
2. I reintroduced the white vermouth, and use Martini & Rossi extra-dry white vermouth; and
3. I double-dip the chicken in the flour/egg mixture.
Chicken French – The Canandaigua Way
• 2 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves (free range chickens)
• 4 tbsp. butter
• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup or so of all-purpose flour
• some kosher or sea or gray salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1-2 eggs (scrambled)
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup Vermouth or dry white wine
• 1/2 cup chicken broth (low-sodium will work)
• juice from one lemon
• chopped fresh parsley
1. Pound out the chicken breasts between wax paper or plastic wrap
2. Heat butter and oil in skillet over moderate-high heat
3. Dredge the flattened chicken breasts in flour- dip into the scrambled eggs and then re-dredge in the flour
4. Sauté quickly until a golden brown jacket forms around the chicken breasts turning only once – season immediately with salt and pepper
5. Transfer to plate and place in a warm oven – cover loosely with foil
6. To the sauté pan with all of the drippings you then add:
7. 3 tbsp. butter, garlic, wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and bring the elixir to a quick boil
8. Return chicken to the pan and repeatedly spoon the sauce over the chicken
9. Place the chicken breasts over buttered noodles or rice pilaf and spoon the remaining sauce over the entire entree – then sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Chef Alexander Bacon
Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake
726 South Main St
Canandaigua, NY 14424