Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rachael Ray's Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce

This is one of my favorite weeknight meals.  It comes together so quickly and has such a wonderful flavor - like you have been slaving all day to make it!  I'm a big fan of Rachael Ray and this was one of the first recipes that I tried.  I was hooked, and I've been making at least once a month since then.  Don't let the Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce deter you from making this wonderful dish.  The balsamic vinegar gives it a nice hint of something different, it's not over the top.  And the wild mushrooms aren't very wild at our house, I usually end up just using baby portobellos or white mushrooms.  I used to make a dish with Chicken and Cream of Mushroom Soup, but this has since replaced it!  Here's what you need:

Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce
adapted from: Rachael Ray
1/2 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces 
2 tablespoons butter
12 cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
12 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
12 white mushrooms, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, a couple of sprigs, chopped
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

To cook:  Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add orzo pasta. Cook to al dente.  Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add extra-virgin olive oil.  Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
Return the skillet to the heat, turn heat back a bit, and add the butter. Once the butter melts add the mushrooms and brown stirring occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are brown season with salt and pepper then add the garlic, thyme and shallots. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until the shallots are wilted. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar and the cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the parsley and the chicken back to the skillet to heat up, about 1 minute.
To serve, pile orzo on dinner plates and top with the sliced chicken and sauce.

Delicious!  Just a few notes, I usually use one type of mushroom (whatever looks good the day I'm at the store), I rarely use fresh herbs in this recipe, and I don't add the parsley at the end.  It tastes great even with my modifications - I'm sure it tastes better her way, but I just don't buy fresh herbs very often!  What can I say?  Spices in a jar are so much easier!

I hope you guys are ready for Christmas.  I know I am!  I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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