Photo by Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! By Katie Workman (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Todd Coleman.
Provenance of Dish
This is a slightly decadent, creamy sauce that really enrobes the chicken in the most appealing way. It’s elegant enough for company, but easy enough for a weeknight. It goes with so many sides, though you’ll probably want some color on the plate. Try Honey-Glazed Carrots (page 276), Warm Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Mustard Vinaigrette (page 288), or Simple Sautéed Spinach (page 287). My husband also enjoys a Lactaid on the side. Sorry if that’s TMI.
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces mushrooms (any assortment), cleaned and sliced
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2½ pounds) Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 onion, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) or light cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, or basil leaves (optional)
Hot cooked quinoa or rice, for serving
Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant,
1 minute. Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, have released all of their liquid (see Cooking Tip, page 134), and are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Sear until the chicken is browned and almost cooked through, but not quite, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Place the chicken on top of the mushrooms.
Return the skillet to the heat without cleaning it, add the onion, and sauté until slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by half, about 4 minutes, then add the cream and bring to a simmer.
You can continue with Step 5 or see the Fork in the Road for a plain sauce.
Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan, along with the herbs. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the sauce and let it sit to reabsorb its juices for 2 minutes. Then slice it up and return it to the sauce so that it becomes nicely coated with sauce, and serve everything over the quinoa or rice.
Chicken in Plain Cream Sauce
In Step 5, return just the chicken to the sauce (without the mushrooms) and simmer until it is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and let cool for a couple of minutes before slicing. Set aside some chicken to serve mushroom-free, topping it with some of the cream sauce, with or without the herbs stirred in. Return the remaining chicken to the skillet, add the mushrooms and herbs if they have not yet been added , and heat through for another minute or so.
Perfect sautéed mushrooms—instead of limp, soggy ones—are not a mystery. Here’s how. First, never submerge your mushrooms in water; they already contain quite a bit and are very porous, so they soak up water like a sponge, making them (let’s say it together) sponge-y. Wipe any dirt off your mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel just before cooking them. Then, sauté the mushrooms, whether they are sliced or chopped, at high heat, so that they release their liquid. After the liquid evaporates in the pan, they will start to caramelize and brown, giving them great flavor and texture. Wait for this to happen and you will be rewarded with lovely caramelized, sautéed mushrooms.