If you are like me, you end up cooking chicken for supper a lot of the time. So many chicken dishes are quick and easy, and I eat the leftovers for lunches and dinners.
In my case, in the recent past it was usually chicken breast. More recently, like so many others, I have discovered the superiority of chicken thighs, and I often cook with the skinless/boneless variety. Chicken thighs are difficult to overcook, and even if you do, they tend to remain succulent and juicy, unlike chicken breasts (and yes, you can brine them, but why should I?) If you are interested in the relative nutrition of the two poultry cuts, the info is here The Nutrition of Chicken Breasts Vs. Thighs. Since I usually remove the skin, or just buy the thighs already skinned and deboned, they are a healthy meal choice.
I found a new/not new recipe to try tonight, compliments of the New York Times Food section’s Molly O’Neill. Old, because I have often used Marsala wine when cooking chicken, but new because I haven’t made it with chicken thighs before, and I don’t usually pound the chicken into cutlets. Here’s the recipe:
Chicken Marsala and Mushrooms
Served over a tangle of linguine or with side of roast potatoes, this classic Italian-American dish made with chicken breasts, mushrooms and Marsala wine is comfort home cooking at its absolute best. Good news: It’s also weeknight easy. First, pound boneless chicken breasts (you can use boneless thighs, too, but they might need a little more cooking time) with a mallet or a rolling pin until they’re about 1/4-inch thick. Season them generously with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and fry in a little olive oil until they’re golden brown. Make a quick sauce of mushrooms, shallots and Marsala and pour it over the chicken. Garnish with a little chopped parsley or chervil for color.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup flour
- ½ pound cleaned and thinly sliced button, crimini or shiitake mushrooms (or a combination)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 4 tablespoons dry Marsala wine, more as needed
- 3 tablespoons veal glaze (see recipe) or chicken stock, more as needed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped chervil or parsley (optional, for garnish)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-size skillet set over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste and dredge in flour. Place 2 of the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add another tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken pieces. As chicken is cooked, set aside on a plate and loosely tent with foil to keep it warm.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet, add the mushrooms and shallot and cook until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown. Add the Marsala wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the veal glaze or stock and heat for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and pour the sauce from the skillet over the chicken. Garnish with chervil or parsley and serve.
I don’t have any shallots on hand (let’s face it – I almost never do), so I’ll substitute some sweet onion and a little garlic. I keep dry Marsala wine on hand, because it is great in cooking chicken or veal cutlets, and my market carries it at a reasonable price. I’ll probably opt for a potato side, and some crisp tender asparagus.
Another chicken dish I have made several times that is so easy to prepare and delicious is this one, adapted from Martha Stewart.
Sauteed Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (6 ounces each)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate; keep warm.
Pour wine into hot skillet; cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream, mustard, and tarragon. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Pour any accumulated chicken juices from plate into sauce. Right before serving, drizzle cream sauce over chicken.
For this one, I also substitute skinless/boneless chicken thighs. I make a flour dredge of flour, salt, pepper, and dried tarragon, and toss the chicken pieces in this mix in a large zipper plastic bag (you can use a paper bag if you prefer). I then brown the chicken thighs in a skillet in the oil, cooking them pretty much all the way through, and remove the pieces to a plate. Continue with sauce as described, adding a little more dried tarragon.
ADD: I love dried tarragon, and often season chicken and fish with it. My second favorite herb with chicken is marjoram. I have grown marjoram several seasons, and my elderly neighbor said that it would be great to use in your dresser drawers or linen closet for a nice scent instead of the more usual lavender!
I have several other chicken recipes I like and often cook, but I’ll save those for another time (a favorite chicken fricassee recipe, for one, and Thai-style peanut chicken, for another.)
What chicken dishes do you like for dinner?