Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's for Dinner?: Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream (à la Julia Child!)



Image: Amazon

I've been reading Julia Powell's novel Julie and Julia, albeit a little late. The English lit student in me won't let me watch the movie and not read the book, so here I am. I'm really enjoying it, and it inspires me even more to make some really fun, and even challenging dishes in the kitchen. I came across chicken breasts with mushrooms and cream (Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons...but I wasTERRIBLE at French) on Sugar & Spice by Celeste, although it is Julia Child's original recipe.

After smelling the dish in the oven, though, and later tasting it's inherent awesomeness, I've decided to pick up a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Vol. 1. Even if it is just for show (the cover reminds me so much of my beloved grandma, her little kitchen, and her great cooking), it just needs to happen.

I wasn't going to make this a "what's for dinner?" post, but I thought eh, what the heck. Also, purists may freak out by my doing this, but I made the dish allergy free. I mean, K's gotta eat! Hello!!!

So I'll place the VERY scrumptious recipe as is and note where I made substitutions. If you can make it without the substitutions, I'd encourage you to do so as the original ingredients are more readily available and I'm sure they have kick-ass flavor. But it still turned out amazing. Turns out my little love bug is obsessed with mushrooms like his mama...it's a win win here.

Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons
serves 4

What you need:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
generous pinch of white pepper (I used black as I didn't have any white pepper)
5 tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance here)
1 tbsp minced shallot or green onion
1/4 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/8 tsp salt

For the sauce:
1/4 cup white or brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1/4 cup port, Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup whipping cream (I used So Delicious plain (unsweetened) coconut creamer)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh minced parsley

Directions:

1. Rub the chicken breasts with lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat butter in heavy, oven-proof casserole about 10 inches in diameter until it is foaming (I did not have one, so I used a deep stainless steel frying pan). Stir in the minced shallot or green onion and saute a moment without browning. Then, stir in mushrooms and saute lightly for a minute or two without browning. Sprinkle with salt.

2. Quickly roll the chicken in the butter mixture and lay a piece of buttered wax paper over them. Cover casserole and place in hot oven. After 6 minutes**, press top of chicken with your finger. If still soft, return to oven for a minute or two. When the meat is springy to the touch it is done. **I cooked my chicken for about 25 minutes to be cooked through**

3. Remove the chicken to a warm platter (leave mushrooms in pot), and cover while making the sauce.

4. To make the sauce, pour the stock and wine in to the casserole dish with the cooking butter and the mushrooms. Boil down quickly over high heat until the liquid is syrupy. Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Remove from heat. Taste sauce for seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Pure greatness, people, I have to tell you. In Julie and Julia, Powell mentions that Julia Child's recipes are simplistic; they're not necessarily easy (although this one wasn't too difficult), and not usually a quick 30-minute meal (sorry Rachel Ray, but this is Julia Child we're discussing here). I think it's just that: great ingredients along with simple seasonings and cooking methods that highlight each ingredient and layer upon each other to make some damn good food.

Seriously, go make it. And if you haven't read Julie and Julia, go pick up a copy, grab a glass of wine (or tea, I guess hehe) and be inspired. Bon appétit!

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