Monday, April 9, 2012

A - No Easter Leftovers - Blue Plate Dinner

NOT leftover ham!

The web is LOADED with recipes for using up extra hard boiled eggs, ham, asparagus and other traditional Easter fare. Some of us, however, didn’t make Easter Dinner.  Merry and CC, who hosted out family's Easter dinner, (bless them, duck AND ham) may just be eating their delicious leftovers for the next week.

Consequently, though, my fridge does not contain a half-moth-eaten looking hunk of ham (although I do miss the bone for soup) or a dried out bowl of leftover scalloped potatoes. Nope. Mine has fresh asparagus from the garden, chicken breasts, cremini mushrooms, always some homemade crème fraîche, and goat cheese medallions. Early and expensive Lancaster County strawberries.  Among a lot of other things. Some day I’ll scare you all with some photos of our fridge when it’s fully loaded. You can tell I was raised by Depression-Era parents from the looks of it most of the time.

This is a quick meal. Very satisfying, comforting and creamy after a long day. Any sort of chunky or wide pasta will do. I happened to have some of the spinach pasta from last week’s post in the freezer so that’s what’s here on the blue plate. The big flavors come from the double strength chicken stock, the asparagus and the goat cheese. Umami is from the mushrooms.

Big Flavor on a little board: Asparagus & goat cheese.

Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

2 T olive oil divided
1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, sliced into half-moons
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry sherry
pinch of thyme
pinch of marjoram
salt and pepper
4-5 oz. soft goat cheese
½ cup crème fraîche
½ lb. thin asparagus, cut into 1” lengths

½ lb. any wide or chunky pasta

Set a large pot of well salted water to boil for the pasta. I a large sauté pan, heat 1 T of oil until it shimmers on medium-high. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Brown on one side and then turn, and cook until lightly browned. Remove the chicken to a plate, and add the remaining oil to the pan, let heat for a moment, and then add the mushrooms and onions, stir to coat with oil and salt lightly. When the juices begin to release from the vegetables, use the moisture to loosen the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Start the pasta.

Add the sherry and the chicken stock, the herbs and stir well, getting all the fond up into the juice. Bring to a simmer, add the goat cheese and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add. Stir until the goat cheese melts into the chicken mixture, and reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and the asparagus and simmer about 5 minutes longer, until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. Taste for salt and pepper and season if necessary. Set aside and keep warm until the pasta is ready.

Serves 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment