Yesterday, I told you guys about the goat cheese crostinis with grape salsa appetizers we made for dinner. When we were deciding on the main dish, I knew I wanted to make something with chicken. I became really nostalgic about my college days at U of I (where, BY THE WAY, the university may be located in boo foo Illinois, but they had some of the most delicious food there…I’m definitely going to do a top 10 of the food I miss there *sigh). ANYWAY, they have this one restaurant in Champaign, IL called Cheddar’s…and OMG. It probably had 98% to do with why I was fat in college, because if I wasn’t there for their Cookie Monster dessert (I’ll tell you more about that in a later post), I was definitely there for their honey-dijon chicken. I know I was going to be cooking for other people, but I may or may not have selfishly decided I wanted to resurrect that dish.
I ended up finding a similar Chicken with Mushroom-Dijon Gravy recipe from Rachael Ray, so I knew I was in good hands. It was pretty easy to make too. So here are some things they don’t spell out, but I looked up enough chicken recipes to figure a few things out on my own: First, lay out the raw chicken breasts on a long piece of plastic seran wrap, that’s long enough so you can fold over the end of it and cover the top of the chicken completely as well. Then pound the chicken and stretch it out a little (I used a rolling pin to do this). I then took a tray, mixed pepper, salt and fresh thyme, and covered the chicken with it. Then, I put a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan and waited until it was warm to begin cooking the chicken.
It takes about six minutes on each side. While it was cooking, I also cooked a wild rice mix, and boiled asparagus in water which were both going to be the sides. I also chopped up the mushrooms and shallots which were going to be part of the gravy.
I wanted to use a wine substitute for the gravy (and this is where I thank you guys for the suggestions on substitutes for white wine on BATF’s Facebook page…that was super helpful!). I ended up using white grape juice. The recipe also calls for chicken stock, which if you have diet restrictions, they also make a “no chicken” stock, which is basically chicken-flavored broth made of veggies. I used Imagine’s Organic No-Chicken broth, which is a little less than $4 at the health supermarket. I was a little nervous about all the substitutes especially since it was the first time I was making it, but in the end, the dish tasted exactly how I’d hope it would, and very much like my beloved chicken dijon dish at Cheddar’s.
Here’s the full recipe:
CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOM-DIJON GRAVY
A Rachael Ray recipe
WHAT TO GET:
1 1/2 cups white and wild rice blend
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced (or use pre-packaged sliced mushrooms to save yourself some time)
3 shallots, sliced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine (or grape juice as a substitute)
1 cup chicken stock (or use no-chicken broth if you have diet restrictions)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional, but I used it in mine)
WHAT TO DO:
(1) Cook rice according to package directions and bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat for the asparagus.
(2) While the rice is cooking, heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken breasts until brown on each side and cooked through.
(3) Once the water is boiling, add some salt and the asparagus, and cook until tender. Drain and reserve.
(4) When the chicken is finished, remove it from the pan and reserve. Add the butter to the hot pan and melt. Add the mushrooms to the pan and brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the shallots and thyme, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. When all the vegetables are tender, sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and shallots, cook about 1 minute then stir in the white wine, chicken stock, Dijon mustard and heavy cream. Cook about 2 minutes, until thickened.
(5) Serve chicken topped with the Dijon gravy and the rice and asparagus alongside.
By the way, there’s a video of Rachael Ray cooking the dish with Mandy Moore, in case you’re interested in a video tutorial :). Anyone going to try cooking this too??