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Monday, April 4, 2011

Getting Wild with Mushrooms

It's Monday and that mean's it's time to clean out the refrigerator.  I don't know about you, but by the end of the week the refrigerator is crammed full of half eaten sandwiches, leftovers and take out containers.  In all of that food there is rarely anything anyone is going to eat.  So, Monday is refrigerator clean out and reorganize day.  What a thrill.

So, this morning as I was tossing a shriveled zucchini into the trash, I spotted two packages of mixed wild mushrooms.  I was going to make a mushroom ragu with them but never got around to it.  I could have made the ragu tonight, but I had already defrosted some chicken breasts.  In an "a-ha" moment, it occurred to me that I could rework some of my favorite chicken and mushroom recipes and come up with a way to use these mushrooms.  It sure beat throwing them away next Monday.

Here's the thing that I love about cooking.  It's not as dependent on chemistry as baking is so it's pretty easy to change things up and make adjustments to recipes according to what ingredients you have in the house.  This is a good thing for me because I am the queen of planning menus and then changing my mind about what I feel like eating.  So, knowing this about myself, I've had to learn to be creative.

The chicken was so good.  I also borrowed from an Ina recipe and from a recipe for chicken with tarragon that I used to make all the time.  I served the chicken with wide egg noodles and green beans, and it was a big hit with Ted.  Kate doesn't really like mushrooms but I do and since I'm doing the cooking she has to adapt.  I have to exert my parental power somewhere even if it is just with the mushrooms.

I'm going to make this chicken with mushroom dish again.  Next time I may even plan for it.

Recipe:  Chicken with Wild Mushrooms


4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, pounded slightly
1/4 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces creme fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 cup Madiera wine


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts liberally and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.  Saute the chicken in the saute pan until browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a casserole dish.

In the same pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat.  Saute the mushrooms, shallot, tarragon, and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the Madiera and deglaze the pan over high heat, scraping up all the browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Add the cream, creme fraiche, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well to combine.  Boil until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.  Pour over the chicken.

Bake in the oven until chicken is cooked through and sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

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