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  • Lea

Chicken with Wild Mushrooms

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

The Challenge:

Two recipes this week. Today's is Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, which you can find here or on page 118 of Foolproof.

Lea's Take:

I’m going to start this post by saying it was a rough week at our house. The refrigerator broke. The fridge might only be...9 years old? Maybe less. Anyway, I think it stopped working overnight and, by the time we realized it, everything in the freezer had thawed and, of course, had to be thrown away. [Mary: I thought we were going to hear that as a reason why you didn't make this week's recipe. Proud of your perseverance!] [Lea: I know, right?!]

Luckily, we have a second fridge in the basement and threw the salvageable items in there. But I’ve now had to spend the week going up and down the stairs just to put cream in my coffee (I know, first-world problems). Josh didn’t want to go all-out grocery shopping this week since we didn’t have that much room in the downstairs fridge, so we (cringe) ate out a lot and, as you already know, had dinner at Mary’s, so we had leftovers from that, too. Score!

Also, I picked up this little ditty on Friday, just so y'all know how I feel about cooking.

Cute, right?

All that to say, I didn’t make this chicken dish until last night. I am proud of myself for making it and not giving in to excuses. [Mary: Ha! I was almost right!] I had some at Mary’s last week and it was delish.

Even though I know how to cut up a chicken, [Mary: Look how far we've come already!] I decided to go with breasts this time. With all the food we threw away last week, I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing away more and no one in this family eats any other part of a chicken, so breasts it was.

Firstly, Josh did the grocery shopping for this meal. I tell you this to explain why I didn’t have all the ingredients. [Mary: I feel like we've heard this before.] While I am willing to spend an hour and a half trying to find obscure ingredients, he is not. Can’t find thyme right away? Move on. No dry sherry? Regular sherry will work just fine! Cheapest bottle of pinot grigio there is? Done!

(I kid, I kid. I don’t like pinot grigio anyway, so it’s best we don’t spend a lot of money on something I only need a cup of.)

Isn't that pretty though? And it smelled good in my house.

Secondly, this recipe called for two (2!) 4-pound chickens, cut into eighths. That means I’d be making 16 pieces of chicken. For 4 people (well, with Mr. Picky Pants, 3-1/2). Who is going to eat 4 pieces of chicken in one sitting?! So, I halved it. [Mary: Me, too.] About 100 times during the making of this meal, I had to remind myself to halve the ingredients. Good thing I’m good at math. What’s ½ of 1-1/2 pounds of mushrooms (answer: I just threw in all the mushrooms that were in the package). Also, did you know that there isn’t a 1/8 cup line on my measuring cup for the (not dry) sherry? So, I had to eyeball it. Seemed to work just fine. I did forget at the end to halve the butter and flour, but guess what? It was fine.

Mary's Take:

This! This recipe is my favorite so far. It incorporates so many of my favorite things: pot food, chicken, mushrooms, and, of course, wine. And since we’re into the best part of fall (minus OSU football), it was a great week to make it.

Ina highlights this recipe during her Barefoot in Napa series, which gives me all the heart-eye emoji feels. Napa holds a special place in my heart: it’s been the destination for several birthday celebrations, I’ve been there with my husband, siblings, old friends, and new ones. I totally want to rent the place Ina has and make this meal during harvest season sometime. Who’s in? [Lea: ME!]

(Don’t you love when people review a recipe and ask for substitutions for wine since they don’t drink? I say buy the bottle, use it in the recipe, and send me the rest. Reminds me of this funny: I love to cook with wine…sometimes I even put it in the food!)

Sometime in March, we’re scheduled to make chicken stock from scratch. I make it a couple of times per year [Lea: Of course you do.] [Mary: So does our brother, Pete, so there!] [Lea: Of course, he does.] and it’s great because I have quarts of it in the freezer to use when I need what Ina calls, “good chicken stock, preferably homemade”. Makes me happy when I can comply with the homemade part. Right now, I don’t have any but used Minor’s Chicken Base in its place. I keep this stuff in the fridge and it makes a really flavorful broth. I also keep a beef base on hand and John recently bought the mushroom one. Have I mentioned my fridge is full of condiments? This is why. [Lea: Yeah, guess what I used? Good old College Inn.]

Since we already know how to cut up a chicken (Lea described it very nicely in our Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken post), I’ll skip over that. This time we coated the chicken with flour before browning it and that step really makes for a crispy crust on the chicken. Chicken is splattery when you brown it. Look at this stove.

(This is when I take a sip of my wine and consider taking Lea up on her offer to clean up if I do all the cooking for her and her family.) [Lea: The offer still stands.]

Does anyone else’s Dutch oven look like mine? I’ve used this one to braise so many meals that it’s stained beyond recovery. I’ve tried everything. I promise it's clean. Hopefully, when I’m gone and my nieces go through my cookware they will know how many great meals came out of this pot.

Our nearest grocery store here is very vanilla, but it’s very conveniently located, so I do most of my shopping there. They didn’t have porcini mushrooms by themselves, so I brought home a pre-packaged mixture of oyster, shiitake, and creminis (although in the video, Ina uses just cremini for this recipe). I also had regular white mushrooms on hand, so I quartered and tossed them in with the garlic and thyme.

I sautéed those for a few minutes, added the sherry (which I so love with mushrooms), then the wine and returned the chicken to the pot. It braised for a half-hour, until the chicken was cooked. To thicken the sauce, I added a little mixture of butter and flour. My friend MJ is a Keto coach and she makes something similar but adds cream and cream cheese instead of the butter-flour to thicken it. Her version is just as delish.

The Results:

Mary: Does this not look amazingly good? It is. The chicken stays moist and the flavor goes all the way through the meat. I used half the amount of chicken but kept the amount of mushrooms and sauce the same. Ina suggests serving it over couscous, and if I did, I’d definitely use Israeli or pearl couscous, rather than regular. [Lea: I used rice. Same difference, right?]

Make it.

Simple one-pot perfection.

On a different note, my husband is precious…and an excellent shopper. Loves a deal (this is a family trait…his mother and aunts did, too). When we were in Texas, he’d run into the Neiman Marcus Last Call and maybe come home with a new shirt, sports coat or a fancy purse for me. These days, he’s relegated to the very upscale Marc’s and Aldi. On his way home from work the day I made the chicken, he stopped at Heinen’s and found some good olive oil on sale. He bought a couple.

We should be good for the next couple of weeks. [Lea: And he gave us one, too!]

Lea: I thought this was the best meal thus far. I was horrified to watch Josh throw salt on his (I felt like Julie in Julie and Julia when her husband salted the bœuf bourguignon).

Josh: It’s missing something (apparently salt).

Mr. Good Eater: Feta (apparently, he thought it was missing feta).

Mr. Picky Pants: Am I going to get into trouble for not eating?

When am I going to make something HE likes?!!

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1 टिप्पणी

10 अक्तू॰ 2020

This one will be a must to try! Makes me hungry just reading your comments 😋

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