Thursday, October 11, 2012

Better Than Your (My) Momma's Chicken & Mushrooms

The first time Josh met my mother, she was cooking for him at her house. I asked him what he’d like since she’s such a fantastic cook. Of all strange things he asked for was chicken marsala. I’m not sure on what planet he thought my super southern momma was going to pull a classic Italian meal from. In fact, I remember marinara sauce coming from a jar and boxed dry spaghetti as a kid. She’d add ground beef usually, but trust me; this was not one of my mom’s specialties! So in an attempt to impress my cute new boyfriend, I asked her to satisfy his ridiculous request. And I prayed that he’d never eaten it before! Well, the woman put together a dish with chicken and mushrooms. But man was it awful! He thought it was fine, but he really should have asked for fried chicken or goulash.
Since that terrible incident, I’ve feared cooking chicken and mushrooms in any combination. I love mushrooms and chicken is a staple for me, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Until, that is, Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for chicken with mushrooms. I had previously admired the loose mushroom section of Whole Foods and this recipe gave me an excuse to buy some.
The problem with this recipe was that it had the chicken dredged in flour and cooked in butter. Alllllrighty then my eating habits just aren’t digging that. Queue Big Eater Small Body remedy! This one’s pretty easy, nix the flour and replace the butter with coconut oil. So I can’t really take the credit for this recipe, but I’ll take the credit for healthing it up and give Martha Stewart her props! What I love about Martha Stewart’s recipes is the ease at which most of them come together. However, Martha Martha Martha, why on earth would you use button mushrooms when you have so many beautiful ones to choose from at Whole Foods?!?!
So enjoy this beautiful mushroomy delight with low stress!
Here’s the breakdown:
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup chicken broth
s & p

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 2 thin pieces. Pound out the chicken. I used a hammer, but perhaps you’ll have a more official kitchen tool. If not, hammers work! Place some plastic wrap on top of the chicken and work it out! Maybe hold onto this recipe for a tough day at the office! N E WAY…..when the chicken is thin, cut those pieces in equal halves or thirds depending on the size of the piece. Heat coconut oil in a skillet and in batches brown the chicken on both sides. About 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat down to medium and add thyme and mushrooms to the pan. You may need a little more coconut oil, but eyeball it. Last thing you want is oily food. Even if it is yummy coconut oil. Sauté the mushroom mix for about 6 minutes until they are soft. Add the wine, broth and cook until liquids are reduced by half. This takes about 3 minutes according to the white collar criminal, but I’d say it’s really closer to double that time. Return chicken to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until everything is the same temperature.

Voila! I served this dish with a lemony broccoli that worked really well as a balanced dinner. All ya gotta do is sauté minced fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, zest of one lemon and a minimal amount of coconut oil until the garlic is fragrant. 2 minutes or so. Then add the broccoli. Crank the heat a bit and sauté for about 5 minutes. Do not overcook the broccoli. That’s the absolute worst!

I can safely say this dish was worlds more enjoyable than that chicken marsala attempt in 2002. And though Josh would never admit it to my mom, he did enjoyed it more as well. Hope you’ll try it out as well!


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