Ubiquitous Chicken …

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

Serves 4

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 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)

Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

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32 Responses to Ubiquitous Chicken …

  1. stella says:

    I forgot to mention – chicken thighs are less expensive (so far) than chicken breasts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. michellc says:

    My daughter’s eye doctor was telling her one day about eating fried chicken at a church dinner and how good it was. He said he had not tasted chicken that good since he was a kid, so he asked for the recipe. Then was shocked that it was nothing special, just salt, pepper, egg, milk and flour. He said he told the elderly lady there had to be some secret and she told him, “no secret, I went out yesterday and caught two hens, cut them up, seasoned with salt and pepper and rolled them in egg, milk and flour and fried them in lard.
    He said then he realized the secret was fresh chicken and lard and that was also what he ate in his grandmother’s kitchen.

    Probably though my favorite chicken is grilled chicken, because I don’t have to cook it, DH does all the grilling. I like to take the leftovers and chop it up for chicken salad the next day, the smokiness adds another flavor to chicken salad.

    Another simple recipe that tastes well is roasted chicken and potatoes.

    Olive oil
    Stick of melted butter
    Hot sauce
    Parmesan cheese
    Fresh chopped parsley

    I never measure so I’m not sure on amounts as I eyeball it.

    Mix all of it together.

    Take quartered potatoes and toss in mixture. Place potatoes in glass rectangle casserole dish, season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes turning potatoes half way through.
    While potatoes are roasting, cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into chunks, season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like. I use whatever I’m in the mood for. Add chicken to leftover mixture from potatoes. I usually let it set in mixture for about 15 minutes, then brown chicken in melted butter or bacon grease.
    After potatoes have cooked for 30 minutes, add chicken to dish, drizzle bbq sauce and ranch dressing over potatoes and chicken. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly.

    I have also made it without cheese and it’s still good. I’ve made it with homemade bbq sauce and ranch dressing and I’ve made it with bottled bbq sauce and ranch dressing. It’s good either way. Sometimes I fry up bacon and crumble it over everything as well. I’ve also done it without bbq sauce. My son and son-in-law both love it and anytime we’re having a family dinner they always request it. My son and husband are not big on cheese or bbq sauce, so I’ll make a large batch and leave the cheese and bbq sauce off half of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      I think I would like your oven roast potatoes, without the chicken, bbq sauce etc. Sounds like a good side dish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • michellc says:

        I’ve done that as well before. Leave out the bbq sauce and chicken.
        I’ve also added a package of ranch dip and coated the potatoes and roasted them that way.
        I love potatoes and some form of potato is almost always either a side dish or part of the main dish for almost every dinner meal.

        Probably my favorite meal is a baked potato with leftover shredded chicken, ham or brisket.
        My DH does a lot of grilling and smoking in the summer and almost always leftover meat goes on a baked potato.

        Like

  3. czarowniczy says:

    Beauty of chicken is it’s higher than protein than beef, cheaperv and is so bland it’s a perfect carrier for sauces. We eat far more chicken than beef, it’s just plain more versatile than beef and has a better texture than fish.
    Ya gots me thinkin’, now it’s going to be clear and cool weather for a few days I just might teriyaki marinate some chicken and toss it on the grill…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. czarowniczy says:

    Remembered…I had a friend in northern Alabama (VN friend) whom I’d visit. They had a number of commercial chicken businesses up around him, private farmers who’d gone over to chicken raising versus their old crops.
    They had huuuuuuge, two story coops that were open-bay. At start up trucks would deliver loads of wood chips the farmers would put on the coops’ floors. 18-wheelers would deliver huge loads of food they’d store in their sheds and then more 18-wheelers would deliver thousands of chicks. They’d be placed into the coops, food and water automatically fed into troughs and, 11-to-15 weeks later, trucks would show up to take the done growed chickens to the plant.
    The farmers had a week or two to clean out the coops, receive more feed and then the trucks with the chicks would show up and it would start all over.
    When you think about it – the farms that produce the hybrid chicken eggs that grow so meaty so fast, quickly distribute them to hatcheries (if they don’t hatch them themselves), get the chicks out to the farms – all with minimal delays – it’s amazing. We are about the only nation that can process food so quickly that we have a surplus, we can sell it cheaply here and to other nations and still have too much. Fast food, regardless of what you think of it, is the resuilt of American ingenuity in producing food, were it not for us and our abilities to produce food on a historic scale there’d be many people around the world who’d have starved to death. Think Europe in 1945…
    Geez, no wonder everyone hates us – we’re everything their governments can’t seem to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joshua says:

      My visitation in the 1960s through “fully integrated chicken processing plants” was an eye opener and disgusting….they use everything but the “cackle” and even feed the chickens meal derived from scrapped chicken parts in the butchery process.

      man, took me a long time to get back to eating chicken after that.

      today, I love chicken…to heck with what they do at Tysons or Pilgrims or whoever….

      cluck cluck

      Like

      • czarowniczy says:

        And it ain’t got much better. I prefer not to think about the gore and offal-filled ‘cleaning’ tanks the carcasses are dragged thru on their way to final cutting. I just ignore it and sanitize my home processing stations with Everrclear and a flame thrower.

        Like

  5. John Denney says:

    For dinner this evening my wife is making what I call Pasta Afraid-O.

    Here’s the Afraid-O part:
    Put a can of Chipotle chiles in a blender or food processor and turn them and the liquid into paste.

    Slice chicken breasts crosswise into 3/8 inch thick medallions.
    Slice Crimini mushrooms.
    Sautee chicken and mushrooms in a little olive oil.
    Add a teaspoon or two or three of the the paste to the chicken and mushrooms and stir well.
    Add a jar of Trader Joe’s Alfredo Sauce, stir well, and serve over pasta.

    The first time she made this for three of us, she used a tablespoonful of the Chipotle paste. It was so spicy I had rivulets of sweat trickling down my scalp, but it tasted so good I couldn’t stop eating.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love tarragon too. I can get it fresh from a local organic farm in the summer. I always buy a bag full and keep it in the freezer, so it’s like having fresh year round. $2.50 buys enough for a full year! I reckon it is very good with chicken, mmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sharon says:

    Oh, thank you Stella. You’re right about the convenience of the chicken meal and the good leftovers. I’ll be printing these recipes off –

    Liked by 2 people

  8. John Denney says:

    In the morning:

    Brown a whole chicken in your favorite fat in a saute pan. Transfer chicken to roasting pan or pressure cooker.
    Saute veggies (onions, celery, carrots, whatever you like) until done, with garlic added at the very end. Stir in 1/4 to 3/8 tspn salt for each pound of chicken and veggies, and twice that much sugar, and your favorite chicken herbs and spices (I like black pepper, a hint of mace and cloves, ginger, mustard powder, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, and sage). Dump on top the chicken. Deglaze the saute pan with wine or water and add it to chicken.
    Put the lid on the chicken and put into a 170 degree oven until dinner time.
    Transfer chicken and veggies to serving dish and keep warm. Skim excess fat from liquid and thicken liquid with cornstarch and pour over chicken and veggies.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Menagerie says:

    I make a chicken corn chowder, recipe varies with my mood and ingredients. I sautee chicken breasts and thighs in olive oil, not completely done, just brown a little with some garlic, and whatever seasonings you prefer with chicken, adding a small amount of balsamic vinegar. Cool chicken enough to chop. Add to the vegetable mix for final cooking, I only sautee for flavor, not to fully cook it.

    Cook carrots, onions, fresh corn if available, shoepeg if not, and potatoes, and I usually add in that order timing for doneness. Add stock or chicken or vegetable broth while cooking your vegetables, and I add finely chopped rosemary and some Italian seasoning mix. I also almost always add Everglades seasoning mix, since I discovered it last summer in Florida. I am now addicted to the stuff. Coarse pepper to taste.

    When done add cream or half and half, salt to taste, and thicken with corn starch slurry, or your favorite method. I don’t use a roux in it because the flavors are already there.

    If I’m lazy I make this with rice but it’s way better with potatoes and a dozen times as good with fresh corn scraped off the cob. Since we don’t like soup in the summer, if I get a taste for it, I ccoasionally make it as a casserole, using less stock and water, still adding cream, and frequently a little sour cream in a casserole.

    If I had to name my family’s top five favorites, tough to do because you know everyone has different choices, this one is on every single person’s list. Play with the seasonings to suit your tastes, and it is a great fall (good corn still available then) meal with a crusty bread.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Menagerie says:

    Okay, adding another one I just threw together, took less than five minutes to put together, maybe twenty to cook, however long boneless thighs take.

    Sautéed thighs in garlic and oil, put on a little balsamic vinegar, added two bags of those Asian style frozen vegetables, added a few spices. Might be the easiest meal I’ve ever cooked.

    Liked by 1 person

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