Raise your hand if you want an easy, fast and delicious 30-minute weeknight meal. Topped with sautéed mushrooms, cooked with wine and a hint of smoky bacon, these chicken breasts just make life easier.
The problem with chicken breasts (and everybody loves them) is that they are easy to overcook, thus making them dry; and truth: underwhelming. The key to cooking boneless chicken breasts without drying them is to brown them quickly in a skillet and let them finish cooking in the oven. A thermometer is your secret weapon to keep them tender and juicy. It should register about 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
Pancetta is essentially Italian bacon, but if you can’t find it, substitute thickly cut bacon for a similar result. Once you have the chicken out of the pan, cook the mushrooms in the same skillet to soak up all the meaty flavors. Your chicken will be ready at about the same time as the mushrooms. Dinner ready in under thirty minutes? I’ll take it.
Chicken breasts with mushrooms, pancetta and wine
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 ounces pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound button, cremini or shitake mushrooms or a combination, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a baking sheet or heatproof platter.
2. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate and dredge the chicken lightly in it, shaking off the excess.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
4. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the oil to the pan. Add the chicken breasts to the pan but don’t crowd them (do this in batches if necessary). Cook for about 2 minutes on a side, or until browned. Transfer to the baking sheet and place in the oven. Let cook in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees.
5. Meanwhile, add the mushrooms to the skillet and sear them without moving them for about 1 minute. Add a tablespoon of the wine to the mushrooms and scrape the bottom of the pan with a flat wooden spoon to deglaze it. Continue to cook the mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are golden. Add the remaining wine, lemon juice and rosemary to the pan. Continue to cook until much of wine evaporates, leaving some liquid in the pan for a sauce. Stir in the pancetta. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
6. Remove the chicken from the oven. Transfer the breasts to a platter and spoon the mushrooms and their juices over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
This recipe appeared recently in the Boston Globe
©2009-2019 Sally Pasley Vargas. Writing and photography, all rights reserved.