As you know, the trip to the farmers market couple of days ago had me purchasing a large bunch of a lofty herb - thyme. Why am I giving thyme such an exalted status you ask? Well, one needs only hold a sprig of thyme and gently pull the tender leaves from stems to be awash with this amazing fragrant aroma - a trace of clove & pepper and one knows beyond a shadow of doubt that great things are to be expected from this herb.
Now add some mushrooms, Dijon mustard and sour cream and you have a dinner
fit for Royalty (or at least some very picky kids)
have a confession to make - chicken breasts are
not my favorite meat. Well, think about it, most times you cook a
chicken breast you get a dried out tail – you know the point section of the
breast at and the thick part at the top is still all pink on the inside.
- Marinating the breasts with some rub or a marinade (in today's recipe some Whatever Whenever dry rub ) and some oil.
- Uniform heat which brings me to my old trusted cast iron pan. Let’s put it this way - you could go out and buy a heavy bottomed pan for $150 bucks ; or just use grandma’s cast iron pan. Well, if it’s good enough for grandma it’s good enough for me (I’ve always wanted to say that)
- Butterfly the chicken breasts so you get a thinner cut of meat that cooks quickly and does not dry out
I am going to do all of the above.
You want to begin by placing washed defrosted chicken breasts on a cutting board. Place a hand firmly over the breast. Hold a sharp knife – not serrated, a chef’s knife - perpendicular to the meat at the thickest portion and start slicing. Stop before you cut all the way through so when you open up each breast you have a butterfly –hence the process of butter - flying the chicken breasts. Get it? Repeat until all chicken is cut this way.
Why is there no photo of this you ask?…..well, can you say learning curve? I am still getting a handle on when to shoot and when to let go...smiles...
to the chicken, people!
So now we place our cut meat in a large baking dish. Stay away from metal. Glass will do nicely. Put some of our awesome Whatever Whenever dry rub on and drizzle olive oil on the chicken. Rub all over.
Garlic - Don’t
you just love garlic? Lay the garlic cloves flat on a clean cutting board.
Place the flat blade of your knife over the garlic cloves and hit down hard.
will separate the clove from its skin. Discard the skin and chop up the
Mushrooms - The
mushrooms need simply be wiped with a damp cloth and are ready to slice. Soaking
in water will lead to absorption and that is not a good for optimum
Thyme - Once
that’s out of the way get about 2 tbs of thyme leaves by pulling leaves from the stem
Add olive oil heat till fuming and add the butter. Quickly before the butter
burns, place the chicken breasts in the pan in a single layer.
Cook's Note - I
cook chicken the same way I cook a tuna steak – I watch for the color to change
from pink to opaque cream half way to the thickness of the breast and then turn
This way, my chicken always remains moist and has a lovely golden brown color. Once all the chicken is cooked, remove in a platter.
Cook's Note - Hold back the urge to add some more butter, oil or liquid. I know the mushrooms look dry but give it a few minutes that they will release copious amounts of stored water and get all soft and limp. That is when you’re ready for the next step.
all the chicken to the pan along with au
jus in platter and ¼ cup water. The chicken can overlap and be in a pile -
no matter. Spoon the sauce as best you can all over the chicken. Lower the
flame to low. Cover with a tight lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
Cook's note – Feel free to try variations such as deglazing the pan with some white wine or substituting the sour cream with heavy cream.
Arrange chicken on the serving platter with sauce on top. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.
I served this to my family with steamed broccoli and a simple fresh salad. My 3 year old lets out a ‘oohhh..’ when it arrives at the table which is awesome considering the only other thing he says when I bring dinner to the table is ‘that gross’!
Once everyone is served and I take my first bite, my first thought is – delicate
flavor, smooth finish. I like the slight tartness from the sour cream, the
heady scent of thyme and the hint of a sweet finish as it coats the back of my
throat. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Now if only we had a bottle of chilled Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Paretai 2008 (New Zealand) Maybe a trip to the bottle shop is in order!
CHICKEN BREASTS WITH MUSHROOMS IN A
Preparation time - 20 minutes (can be done in advance)
Cooking time - 40 minutes
6 Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless6 cups Fresh Mushrooms
3/4 cup Sour cream
2 tbs Dijon Mustard
1/2 medium Red Onion
6 Garlic cloves
2 tbs Thyme leaves
2 tbs Olive oil – for marinating
oil – for sautéing
3-4 tbs Butter – for sautéing
1/4 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Water
Chicken breasts - Butterfly
the chicken, marinate in glass dish with the rub and 2 tbs olive oil. Rub the
rub all over the chicken and leave aside for at least an hour. More the
Fresh Mushrooms – Wipe with damp cloth and slice. I use both caps and
Red onion – Peel and finely chop
Garlic cloves – Peel and chop
Thyme – Gather leaves by pulling sprig through fingers.
the cast iron pan or a heavy bottomed pan on the stove on medium high heat till it is angry hot.
Add 3 tbs olive oil first till fuming. Add 3 tbs butter and before it browns
immediately, add the marinated chicken in a single layer and cook on each side
till it is golden brown.
not keep flipping the breasts. Watch for the color on one side to change from
pink to opaque cream half way to the thickness of the breast and then turn it
over. Cook chicken in batches if necessary.
chicken to a platter and set aside.
the same pan, add a tbs of olive oil and butter (if pan is dry and it is needed) and add the garlic. Saute
till it turns a nice golden color.
the finely chopped red onion and continue to sauté. Once the onion is soft, add
the sliced mushrooms & stir.
not add any more butter, oil or liquid. Continue sautéing mushrooms release
stored water and turns soft and limp.
lower heat to medium and add the sour cream,
the chicken to the pan and spoon the sauce as best you can all over the
thyme leaves, crushing between fingers to release the oils and aroma.
the water and lower flame to lowest setting. Cover with a tight lid and cook
for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove to the platter and garnish with thyme sprigs. Serve immediately with side of vegetables, potatoes or crusty bread.
- 1 ½ tbs Paprika
- 2 tbs Brown sugar
- 1 tbs Garlic powder
- 1/2 tbs Black pepper
- 1 tbs Onion powder
- 1 tbs Thyme leaves
- 1 tbs Oregano leaves
- 1/2 tbs Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tbs cumin powder
- 1-1/2 tbs salt
Place all ingredients, one by one, in a screw top glass jar or any plastic container with tight lid. Close lid tightly and shake for 30 seconds vigorously to combine all above ingredients in a thoroughly dry airtight container.
Store in a dry and cool place.
Do you have a favorite Chicken recipe you would like to share with us? If so please let us know about it in the comments.We would love to hear from you!