Monday, January 14, 2013

My Apologies to Weight Watchers: Creamy Balsamic Chicken & Mushrooms

I'm apologizing to Weight Watchers because I took an old recipe I found on their site and doctored it up.   Two or three years ago I found the grandaddy of this recipe on the Weight Watchers site while looking for a way to use up a surplus of fresh mushrooms. As written, it was pretty good, extremely easy to make, if a bit spare. But that's what you get, if you cruise diet sites for inspiration. You can see the original here. If you want to lose weight, you don't get there eating rich, luxurious dishes.

Unfortunately, the things that elevate this from a merely good recipe to unctuous deliciousness are things that add too many calories to make it a really good on-program dish (if you are following WW) unless you are willing to sacrifice a few points for the sake flavor and savor. I am willing to do that, because every now and then, especially you are watching your weight, you need something really GOOD. This is it.

Thanks to a shopping oversight this week,  both Chuck and I bought sliced cremini mushrooms,  so I had way too many mushrooms living in the fridge. Mushrooms are quite perishable, and unless you store them where they are fairly dry, they'll get slimy and stinky in no time flat. I am absolutely sure of this from experience.  Outside of the mushrooms, everything else in this recipe are things I always have on hand, and you probably do, too, especially if you are making my homemade crème fraîche. Most of us have a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts lurking in the fridge or freezer, as well as some Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar in the pantry.

Quick enough for a weeknight meal, and nice enough to serve to company, every good home cook should have this goodie in their repertoire.
Quick Creamy Balsamic Chicken & Mushrooms 

Creamy Balsamic Chicken & Mushrooms

This is a recipe where mise en place is important, since the cooking part goes fast,  make sure you measure out all the ingredients before starting to cook.

Serves 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6-7 oz. each, pounded out to about 1/2" thick
4T Balsamic vinegar, divided
2 teas. Dijon mustard
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1tes. dried thyme
2T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sliced shallot
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 teas. Stonewall Kitchen Chicken & Pork Rub
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1/2 cup chicken stock, or water
1/3 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream


1. In a small bowl, mix 3T balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the garlic and the thyme. Place the chicken into a gallon size zip top bag and pour the balsamic mixture over the chicken, zip the bag shut, forcing out as much air as possible.  Smoosh it around to distribute the balsamic marinade as evenly as possible over the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 10 hours. More time is better.

2. When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large, 12" nonstick pan over medium high, and remove the chicken from the bag (keep the marinade). Brown the chicken on the top, smooth side, and then turn and cook until nearly cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate.

3. Lower the heat in the pan to medium low, and add the mushrooms and shallots,  cooking until the mushrooms begin to lose some moisture. add the wine, stir up any brown bits in the pan and cook until the liquid is about half gone. Add the chicken stock and the Chicken and Pork rub, and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche, slide the chicken breasts into the mixture, cover and simmer about 2-3 more minutes.

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