Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – March 10, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published from Cooking Light – January 2011

There are only so many things you can do with a chicken breast, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that have a different twist.  Does this one have that twist?  I’m not really sure it does, but it looked delicious.

I love shallots and mushrooms so I was excited.  But I’m usually not fond of a wine sauce, so I was skeptical.  Since the wine was used to basically deglaze the pan, I decided to go for it.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Does anyone doubt that my chicken looks juicier?  I’ll be honest, that’s what I look for in a chicken dish.  Chicken is one of those things that can dry out and be like eating cardboard.

© Food Network Magazine
Well, their chicken looks “done”.  In their quest to make the picture/plating “artistic” (and it does look interesting), they made the food look less appealing.  It looks dried out.  Simply said, my chicken looks more eatable.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – There isn’t much prep work and all of the cooking is done in one pan.  That’s a mess I can handle.

Start-to-Finish Time: WELL UNDER AN HOUR – Well it isn’t the same as the time specified in the recipe, but it isn’t too much more.  This can be a nice after-work dish to serve.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – There’s very little chopping and I used dried herbs instead of fresh to save some time (and my fingers).  Had I gone with fresh thyme, it could have pushed the rating up a notch LOSS OF FINGER POSSIBLE.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – Even if you are a novice, don’t be afraid of the wine reduction sauce.  It doesn’t take long and it is a pretty simple thing to do.  You just have to pay attention.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – For the LOVE OF GOD, this was delicious!!!  I took my first bite to sample it and write a little about how it tastes immediately after I prepared it.  Before I knew it, I had eaten the entire breast without making my salad or potatoes.  I almost ate a second instead of making the side dishes.  This is one of the few leftovers I’ve eaten as soon as possible and for every meal after until it was gone.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes - yes, I changed AGAIN!  Don’t judge me!  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 (1 chicken breast and 1/3 cup of sauce)

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 290
  • Total Fat 10.5g (Saturated Fat 4.4g)
  • Cholesterol 114mg
  • Calcium 34mg
  • Sodium 526mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 5.5g
  • Fiber .8g
  • Iron 1.9mg
  • Protein 42.1g
The serving size is accurate if you can stop yourself from eating more than one breast at a time.  A 6-ounce breast with a salad and potato (definitely go with a potato) and maybe a crusty roll, makes a perfect meal.

My timing went over by about 10 minutes.  I think it all depends on how quickly your wine reduces.  For some reason, Cooking Light didn’t break out their time into the different stages, so you don’t get a sense of how long it will take you to do each step.  You may be able to get it done in 35 minutes, but only if you’ve got a helping hand, taking some shortcuts and are a very fast worker.  Here’s how my timing worked out:
  • Prep Work:  11 minutes
  • Chicken Cooked: 16 minutes
  • Sauce Made: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 47 minutes
The dish came from Cooking Light and they usually have very healthy dishes.  And it is for the most part.  It is slightly higher on the sodium side, but not as bad as some of the other dishes I’ve made.  I plugged the dish into Spark Database to check the accuracy of it and here are the numbers:
  • Calories 298
  • Total Fat 10.3g (Saturated Fat 4.6g)
  • Cholesterol 115mg
  • Sodium 586mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 4.2g
  • Fiber 0.4g
  • Sugar 0.7g
  • Protein 40.9g
As you can see, it is relatively the same.  A couple things were ever so slightly higher and some things were slightly lower.  I didn’t find it to be a significant difference.  I tweaked a couple of things and it didn’t change the numbers at all, so there’s no reason to post the same information over again.

The good news is that the recipe is a great supplier of:
  • Vitamin B-5 51.7% (important for hormone regulation and maintenance of skin, muscles and nerves)
  • Niacin 106% (helps the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrate during metabolism)

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients - meat & vegetables
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine with lemon flavor
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients - pantry
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Ingredient Notes:
Olive Oil – The recipe originally called for canola oil, but I happen to like the taste of olive oil.  Nutritionally, both are high in Omega3 fatty acids, although canola oil has a slightly higher polyunsaturated fat level.  Both are heart healthy, but because olive oil is pressed from the olive fruit, it contains antioxidants and vitamins that the canola oil does not have.

Shallots – I used 2 large shallots to get the ¼ cup.  Shallots look like small brown onions that have a very thick paper skin.  Often you can find them in the same area of the pre-minced garlic.  If your store doesn’t carry them, you can substitute the white parts of the green onion.

Mushrooms – The recipe didn’t specify which one to use, so I selected white.  It has the most subdued taste (I didn’t want the mushroom to compete with the sauce too much) and is also the cheapest.

Garlic – To save some time, I used pre-minced.

White Wine with Lemon – I was going to buy regular cooking white wine, but they didn’t have any.  The only one the store had was one with lemon, so I got that.  I think it enhanced the flavor

Thyme – the original recipe called for fresh thyme.  To save some time, I used dry.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Raw meat cutting board
Plastic wrap
Meat mallet
Large skillet
Flexible spatula
Large spoon

Equipment Notes:
Plastic Wrap – The recipe called for heavy duty plastic wrap, but I only had regular and I wasn’t willing to spend the money to buy another kind.  That’s why I used raw meat cutting board to pound out the breasts… in case the plastic wrap didn’t hold.  It did.

Flexible Spatula – I love my flexible spatula.  It is great for cooking chicken, fish and delicate pastries.  It doesn’t have a rigid edge to break up the food if it doesn’t flip easily.

(1)  Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

I had to do steps #2-4 in two batches.  I added ½ teaspoon of oil in between batches.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Cooked Chicken
(2)  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat.

(3)  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

(4)  Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.

SMOKE ALARM WARNING – my olive oil got a little hot and the smoke alarm went off.  Pugs and Chihuahuas ran for cover!

Have the rest of your ingredients ready to go since the next several steps go quickly and can burn easily if ignored.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Sauteed Vegetables
(5)  Add shallots and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.

While stirring, I flipped out 2 mushrooms, so be careful when you are stirring the mixture.  If you are like me and constantly have the contents of your pan on the stove, you can use a large pan with deep sides or a Dutch oven.

(6)  Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

(7)  Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates.

It took about 4 minutes for the liquid to evaporate.

(8)  Sprinkle mushroom mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

(9)  Add broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick.

(10)  Remove pan from heat; add butter and thyme, stirring until butter melts. Serve with chicken.

This was so good – I mean sinfully good!!!  Make sure you serve with your favorite vegetable and salad or you’ll eat more than one breast.  I guarantee it! 

Would I change this recipe at all?  Absolutely NOT!  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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