One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chicken with Mushrooms, Oregano, and Marsala served with Braised Chestnuts

It's probably easy to detect from my blog that chicken is one of my favorite go-to dinner proteins. I often buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale and re-package them into individual portions for the freezer when I get home. They thaw much quicker in single portions, whether I'm defrosting one or several. If I have unexpected company (or even expected company!), I can take out as many chicken breasts as I need. It's a system that really suits me.

With all that chicken in my freezer, I'm on the constant search for finding recipes just a little different from the 'norm'. On one of my recent recipe searches, I came across a recipe for Chicken Breasts with Wild Mushrooms, Marjoram, and Marsala at I didn't have a variety of mushrooms on hand but did have plenty of baby bellas (cremini), nor did I have fresh marjoram but fresh oregano is growing bountifully on my back porch! So with a couple of minor substitutions I made this dish. And it was... divine. Follow the recipe's methodology, and you will have no problems preparing this dish. It's definitely good enough for company, but easy enough for a mid-week dinner for the family. I would recommend doubling the sauce - it's delicious, but rather scanty once cooked down.

Noting the can of whole chestnuts I'd had stored in the pantry for several months, I also decided to do something with them. I found a website of chestnut recipes, and stumbled upon Braised Chestnuts. They're cooked in a liquid containing port for about an hour, until the chestnuts soak up the braising liquid. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill side dish, and really delicious. I'll be doing this again when I find fresh chestnuts in the stores. A really lovely autumnal dish!

Chicken Breasts with Wild Mushrooms, Marjoram, and Marsala
Yield: Makes 4 servings

4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves
6 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, stemmed shiitake, and baby bella), thickly sliced
1 cup sliced shallots (about 5)

3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons dry Marsala

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then 2 teaspoons marjoram. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until just cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots, and 2 teaspoons marjoram. Sauté until mushrooms are brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Combine broth, cream, Marsala, and remaining 2 teaspoons marjoram in same skillet; boil until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Divide mushrooms among 4 plates. Top mushrooms with chicken. Spoon sauce over and serve.



Braised Chestnuts

2 pounds Delmarvelous chestnuts - whole shelled
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (you can use any onion, vidalia is a good choice)
1 cup port wine (use a good port)
thyme (use fresh or fresh dried--not ground - I used about 4 sprigs)
3 cups chicken stock (canned is ok--homemade is better)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat heavy saucepan.
2. Add the oil, butter and chopped onions. When onions turn slightly brown, deglaze with port wine. Add thyme, chestnuts, chicken stock and a little salt and pepper. Cover and cook until chestnuts are tender and the chestnuts have absorbed most of the liquid. This will take an hour or so. Serve as whole-braised chestnuts or pass through a ricer to make a wonderful chestnut puree.

"What a wonderful side dish...very seasonal...This is an outstanding way to introduce friends to the great taste of chestnuts. Delmarvelous chestnuts will peel whole, using the microwave method. Simmer very gently to avoid breaking the chestnuts into pieces. Enjoy!"



Linda said...

Looks delicious as always Lori~

Thibeault's Table said...

Lori, I know where to look when I want to try a new chicken recipe. This one looks like a winner. I always have chicken breasts in the freezer too. I have four packages of vacuum packed chestnuts in the pantry. Now I know what to do with some of them.

Kathy Walker said...

Lori, this looks delicious. Something new and I always have chicken breasts!

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