Friday, March 30, 2007


(Chicken Breasts With Mushrooms)

I’ve made this a few times before but always forgot to post it. It’s from Bistro Chicken by Mary Ellen Evans, my source for easy Frenchy sophistication. Like her other recipes, this one sounds, looks, and tastes elegant but is no trouble at all to make. You get to do fun chef things like deglaze the pan with wine and reduce the liquid to make a pan sauce, so you can pretend it requires flair and savoir-faire to make it, but at heart it’s quite sensible and unfussy and relatively foolproof. The only changes I made were to use brown mushrooms because I like them better, and to leave out the tarragon because I have yet to be thrilled enough by tarragon in my life to warrant paying $2.50 for it at the grocery store. Everything went smoothly, though I think I could have reduced the sauce a bit more at the end; it was too runny. But tasty, so who cares? This recipe doesn’t send me over the moon—there’s a nice blend of subtle flavors and all, but essentially it’s just chicken in dressed-up cream-of-mushroom sauce. But with a green salad it’s a good, reliable, civilized Tuesday night dinner, which is all I need sometimes.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
¼ cup minced shallots
4 (6-to-8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* If breasts are large, use 2 and cut each in half horizontally to make 4
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
½ cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it sizzles, add the mushrooms and shallots. Sauté until just beginning to soften, 2–3 minutes.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Push mushrooms to the edges of the skillet and add the chicken in the middle. Sauté until golden brown on both sides, 3–4 minutes per side.

3. Reduce heat to low; add broth and wine. Cover; cook, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part when cut with a knife, 4–5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Whisk the half-and-half into the skillet; increase heat to high and cook to reduce and thicken slightly, 2–3 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, finely chop the herbs. Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the chopped herbs, and serve.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

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