How to Use this Blog

This blog is designed to be used like a cookbook. I've put tags on each recipe so you can go to the section on that topic just by clicking on the word in the cloud or the list. Some recipes are under more than one category to help you find what you're looking for.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Gourmet

Alternate Title: Free-Range Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
(but using store-bought chickens because I would never kill the family pet)

This was the first recipe I learned to cook.  My Daddy saw it on one of the first cooking shows in Dallas.  The first, everyone raised in Dallas knows, was the Julie Benell show on Channel 8.  But in the early 60's the PBS station produced a local cooking show with a guy named David Wade.  Daddy was really into cooking at this time since we was between wives and decided that if he had to cook he might as well make the best of it.

Yes, dear ones, I am so old that fast food had not been invented when I was young.

This was also the dish I landed a husband with. I can't help but remember that once I cooked this for Beaven his interest in me deepened.  It's one of my kids favorites.  I've amended it a bit-- but only minor adjustments to keep up with the times.  In the early 1960's for instance you couldn't buy fresh mushrooms in the grocery store so the original recipe called for canned mushrooms.  It also used Cooking Sherry instead of the real thing.  So, in most respects this recipe is an improvement over the original.

I have no idea if the flavor would be different if you used freshly killed free-range chickens since I'll never be allowed to kill a chicken at this house as long as Beaven Els lives and breathes.

And I've cooked this so many times that it might be hard for me to write out instructions but I'll try.

1 package skinless, boneless chicken breasts
(which I will grant you is a lot easier than catching a chicken, donning a rubber apron, slitting the chicken's throat and letting it bleed out, then boiling a few gallons of water, scalding the chicken, plucking the feathers, then gutting and skinning the bird.)

a couple of onions, sliced
a package of carrots (big or baby, peeled or not but definitely sliced into thin coins
a package of mushrooms, sliced

Chicken stock (you can buy this in the soup aisle or make your own using my recipe)
cream or whole milk--1/2 cup
Sherry (not cooking sherry, that stuff is nasty)

salt and pepper
a stick of butter

Tenderize the chicken breasts  by pounding with a mallet or rolling pin.  Gently saute them in some butter until they're brown.  Set the meat aside.  In the same pan add some more butter (maybe the other half of the stick) Saute the carrots until brown and carmelized.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the mushrooms last and brown them just a bit.  Add about two cups of chicken broth. Then add 1/2 cup of sherry.  Cook this until the flavors blend --maybe half an hour or so.  Add the cream or whole milk and lower the temperature to just keep it warm but not bubbling.  Thinly slice the chicken breasts across the grain and add the chicken and let it simmer gently for another half an hour.  Don't let it come to a boil.  Add another 1/2 cup of sherry and serve over egg noodles.

The sherry sweetens the dish and makes it richer.  You can add more sherry anytime you want if you don't think you have enough.  I don't think you can add too much.  The biggest mistake I make is when I try to raise the heat and/or get in a hurry.  High heat will mess this up.  Low and Slow is the key to this recipe.