Friday, December 30, 2011

Sauteed Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream

The first step to preparing any good meal is to get some good help!

Chicken and mushrooms must be made for one another, and this dish is proof.

  • For Sauteed Chicken
    • 2 lb frying chicken parts, skin on (breasts, thighs, drums, wings)
    • 2 Tbs butter and 1Tbs oil for frying
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • A pinch of thyme
  • For Deglazing Sauce
    • 1 Tbs minced shallots or scallions
    • 1/2  c chicken stock
    • 1/2 c dry white wine
    • 1 Tbs butter for final sauce
    • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
    • 2 c mushrooms (I used half baby bellas and half miatake
    • 1 1/2 c heavy cream

1. Brown the chicken- rinse and dry chicken. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt butter and oil over high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add chicken (skin down), and turn once a minute for 10 minutes. Chicken will brown to a nice "walnut" color. Add salt, pepper and thyme.

2. Finishing the cooking- reduce heat to low/medium, cover the chicken and let simmer 6 minutes. Turn and simmer another 6 minutes. Turn once more and simmer another 6 minutes. Set chicken aside.

3. Sautee mushrooms in a separate pan in oil for 8-10 minutes.

4. Deglazing and cream sauce- immediately skim off all but 1 Tbs of the chicken grease. Add shallots/scallions and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and wine, boil down and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cream, boil down on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, add butter for flavor if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

L: Deglazing; C: W/ Cream; R: Boiled down

5. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken to heat throughout, another 2-3 minutes.

6. Serve with rice or risotto.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

(Julia Child's) Grandmother's Potatos Au Gratin with Ham

Possibly the most thoughtful gift that I received this Christmas was from my dear friend, Alyssa. She gifted me with The Way to Cook by Julia Child, and as soon as I got it home I flipped through every page of it. The book is organized in such an intuitive way, that I almost read it like a text. Core recipes branch out into multiple variations, so once I know how to saute Chicken, I'll have 10 new dishes up my sleeve! Amazing. But, this post is not about sauteed chicken, it's about using Christmas leftovers, which is another topic that Julia frequently references! And now... Having blabbered on like an Amy Adams movie, I'm just going to post the recipe.

  • 2 lbs "boiling" potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4" thin
  • 1 oz butter (1/4 of a stick)
  • 1 1/2 T flour
  • 2 c hot milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Small punch of nutmeg and thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1 c Italian blend of cheeses, shredded
  • 2 c leftover ham slices

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium sized pan, cover potatoes with cold water, then cover and bring to a boil. Let boil 3-4 minutes, they will be mostly cooked but not quite. Drain, return to pan and cover again (so that the potatoes will firm up), then let sit open until you are ready to assemble the dish.
2. Make a white sauce by melting the butter in a medium pan on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk quickly until the mixture is smooth. Add the garlic and continue whisking 2 minutes, reduce heat if roux begins to darken.
3. Add 1/2 of the hot milk, and continue stirring until sauce thickens, slowly add the other 1/2 and continue whisking. Continue simmering for 2-3 minutes until sauce is creamy. Add dijon, and seasonings.
4. Dice leftover ham into good sized chunks.
5. In a medium sized casserole dish, layer the first 1/2 of each of these ingredients in casserole in this way, then repeat. Potatoes, ham, sauce, cheese.
6. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, then let stand 15 minutes before serving.