Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chicken a la Sianessa

I made this recipe up based on what was in my fridge, and when I served it, I didn't think about plating it in a pretty way -- I had been tasting it throughout the cooking and I was too impatient to eat a plateful to bother with art. So no picture. But trust me, this is really yummy: rustic, comforting, and vaguely Germanic.

5 or 6 med red potatoes, chopped
1 pkg portabello mushrooms, stems removed and reserved
1 pkg chicken stock
sea salt
1/2 tsp or more black pepper (critical!)
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 tsp celery seed (critical!)
small handful fresh parsley, minced
3 or 4 strands fresh thyme
1 sm. onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast fillets
cooked bite-size pasta, such as gemelli or rotini

Toss mushroom caps and potatoes with about 1 tbsp olive oil. In a casserole pan, pour about 1 cup stock, and add the chopped potato, mushroom caps, 1/2 the yellow pepper, salt & pepper, thyme and about 1/2 the onion. Cover loosely with tin foil and put in a 350 oven till potatoes are soft.

In a saucepan, saute the remaining onion, the garlic, and mushroom stems. Add the remaining yellow pepper. When onion is translucent, add about 1 cup stock and the celery seed, parsley and more thyme. Bring to a boil, then bring down to simmer. Reduce to about half.

Pour mushroom stem mixture into the food processor, add 1/2 cup cream and puree until very smooth. Push through a fine sieve. Pour back into saucepan and add more salt, celery seed, and black pepper to taste. The celery seed and black pepper are particularly lovely flavors in this dish, so don't skimp!

With a slotted spoon, remove potatoes, mushrooms and bell pepper from casserole dish; set aside. Pour remaining liquid into the sauce. Bring to a low, gentle simmer and allow to reduce a bit to intensify flavor.

While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions.

Now bring out chicken fillets. Place in casserole pan and cover with heavy cream, turning to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper and thyme. Cover loosely with tin foil and put in oven about 14 minutes, turning at least once. To finish, turn oven to broil and remove tin foil. Allow chicken to brown on the outside and get a bit crackly at the edges.

When you're ready to eat, put the potatoes and mushrooms back in the casserole dish with the chicken and put back in the oven about 4 minutes (not on broil!) to heat. When hot, remove all solids and set aside for plating. Quickly pour the remaining liquid from the casserole into your food processor. Pour all the sauce in as well, and process the lot for about 30 seconds.

Because most of this dish is a not very gorgeous beige color, I recommend plating it in an artful way. Toss the pasta in the sauce and make a flattish pile of pasta in center of a plate. Mound potatoes and mushrooms in the middle of the puddle. Then lean the browned chicken with a small drizzle of sauce on top. Garnish with parsley or snipped chives. There should be plenty of extra sauce, and I recommend making it available via a gravy boat, so that it can be sopped up with pasta, bread, fingers, or whatever. My husband literally licked the plate when I made this!

I think this would be really nice with a cold roasted red beet salad. Just roast beets in a 425 oven for about 40 minutes (more or less depending on size). The skins should just slip off, then chill, chop, and dress with a light, tangy, dijon vinaigrette and toss with some diced red onion and maybe a bit of watercress. Yum!


foodstuffs said...

mmm if only Sean would eat of the fowl.

Sianessa said...

I think you could also make this dish with turkey, pork, or even fish -- just adjust the cooking time. I bet it would be yummy with shrimp.