With days becoming shorter and shorter, the urge to make more home cooked meals is growing. One of my favorite parts of the seasons changing is that the meals begin to change, too.
There’s less grilling and more stews and gravies. I like to call it human hibernation – eating lots of good stuff to prepare for the coming winter months, like more soups, stews and hearty meats topped with delicious sauces and gravies.
Yes, I am a fan of gravy — on everything, including the vegetables.
Okay, so maybe it’s a lame excuse to eat, or maybe I should say guzzle, gravy among other things, but you have to admit it becomes quite tempting as the change in weather brings in cool fall nights. Gravy sounds more and more delicious as the weather gets colder and colder. Don’t lie to yourself – just pass the gravy boat and ladle it out generously.
I recently fingered through some old recipes and stumbled upon one for a hearty mushroom gravy. Immediately I knew I needed to make this gravy served atop some pan seared chicken. Even better, I found a box of polenta hiding in the pantry, perfect for holding all the gravy a gravy-lover could want.
A cool night finished off with a warm hearty meal (of course topped with gravy) is my favorite way to enjoy this season. The recipe I’ve provided is a quick and easy meal that can be served alongside some of your favorites such as polenta, mashed potatoes, rice or even risotto.
Chicken & Mushrooms
6 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 8 ounce package of crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Fresh ground black pepper
- Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 inch thick using a meat mallet or heavy duty skillet. Season each piece with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add the chicken to the pan, cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Cook in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan, sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the wine, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the broth to the pan, bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat and add the butter and thyme sprigs. Stir until butter melts. Add the chicken back to the pan. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta. Enjoy!
Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig was born and raised in Riverhead, where she lives with her husband Tahir and their two dogs.Kayleigh is in her third season as Sous Chef at a private kitchen in Southampton. Not only is she second in command but her main focus is on creating, preparing and executing cold dishes such as salads, hors d’œuvres, appetizers, canapés, pâtés and terrines. Kayleigh has been in the culinary industry for the last 15 years, working her way up in kitchens on the East End. She also is a personal chef.
Look for In the Kitchen with Kayleigh every Saturday on RiverheadLOCAL.com.
Got questions? Recipes? Ideas?