chicken and mushroom

Because sometimes you crave the comforting taste of cream of mushroom chicken casserole, but would rather forgo the highly processed canned food recipe from of old.  Right? I know I do! In fact, my mom came up with this recipe on the fly because I had mentioned wanting something that combined comfort, creamy baked chicken with mushroom sauce, but left out nasty chemicals, relying on too many canned items (so easy to do when we’re busy!) and the complications of a super-duper gourmet recipe (fun but who has time for that on a week night?).

Did Mom succeed? You be the judge! We think she nailed it; all the comfort and flavor you remember from your childhood favorite dish, without the nasty canned food flavor, high sodium content and ironic dissatisfaction of the classic recipe. It doesn’t require tons of time or fancy kitchen gadgets.  It can be made gluten-free and even dairy free, if you desire (see notes below).

 

Ingredients

1# boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 4 pieces

1 t real crushed garlic, or generous sprinkle powdered

1# crimini or other flavorful mushrooms, sliced

1 cup minced green onions or shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 T butter

1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil, set aside + 1 more

1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried

2 or 3 T chick pea or regular flour

1 cups almond milk ( use more if needed)

½ cup broth, white or Marsala wine

Sea or Himalayan salt + pepper, to taste

A large pinch of dried Italian seasoning

1 lemon, juice + peel

I cup uncooked rice pilaf blend, of choice (NOT white sticky rice)

2 T shaved Asiago or other hard, flavorful cheese

 

Directions

Coat a 9’’ square baking dish with olive oil or real butter.  Heat oven to 375*.

Cook cup wild and brown rice pilaf blend according to directions. Spread cooked rice blend evenly into coated pan.  Set aside.

Heat 1 T extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season chicken breasts and brown about 3 minutes on each side. Place breasts on the rice.

Add the other T of the oil to the pan in which you browned the chicken. Saute’ the mushrooms, onions,garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning and lemon juice plus grated peel until well browned, stirring constantly, add the wine/broth and let it bring up the little bits on the bottom of the pan (‘deglaze’). Set aside mushrooms. Melt the butter in the skillet then add flour, stirring to make a roux (or beginning of a thick sauce). Cook a minute or so. Slowly whisk in almond milk, wine stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Return the mushroom mixture to pan, add the dried herbs, more S&P if needed. Add more almond milk if too thick, should be the consistency of a medium white sauce.

Pour over chicken breasts and grate cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered about 35 minutes until chicken is done and top is nicely browned. I used a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken had reached 160* or so.

Serve with steamed veggies and a nice glass of Chardonnay or a medium-bodied red wine.  Enjoy!