Friday, February 8, 2013

Skinny-Not Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

This was my Christmas dinner.  Not exactly skinny, but delicious!
Every so often you have to go off the diet.  You have to live a little, and I think throwing a dietary curveball to your system is a good thing.   I've heard if you eat the same diet foods all the time, your metabolism gets used to it and it becomes harder to lose weight.  This really isn't based on scientific fact, but it's a good enough reason for me to throw caution to the wind and chow down.

Start by grilling your chicken
I start by heating up my George Foreman Grill.  If you don't have a countertop grill you can use a cast iron skillet - a must for every serious home cook.  I set my grill to 400 degrees - it beeps when it's pre-heated.  If you're using a skillet, turn on medium high and let sit for at least 5 minutes.  Next, I dry the chicken with paper towels and then pat with oil.  You can use Canola oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

Multi-task if you dare
If you are super-focused you can start on the mushrooms while the chicken grills.  Otherwise, tend to the chicken first, set aside, and then saute the mushrooms.  I buy the mushrooms already sliced.  These are just plain old buttom mushrooms.  But you can use cremini, mini portabello - any one of your favorites, or you can get creative and combine a few different types.  I cooked them in an oven safe skillet as the pan will be transfered to roast to cook the inside of the chicken.  Grilling only cooks and browns the outside and leaves the center raw - not a good thing with chicken. 

Necessity is the mother of invention
As the mushrooms are just about finished browning, add the additional ingredients.  I had planned to use cherry or grape tomatoes, but found I was out of both when I started to cook.  I did, however, have sun dried tomatoes.  These turned out to add a wonderful depth of flavor to the sauce and I'll use them from now on when I cook this dish.  The last of the dry ingredients is chopped garlic cloves.  They burn very quickly so toss them in when the rest of the mixture is just about done.  Overcooked garlic tastes bitter and will ruin the dish.  Next I deglazed the pan with white wine.  As Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, says - use a wine that you would drink.  Don't use cooking wine you find at the market.  

Ready for the oven
Here's the part where we enter a parallel universe and I  use the B word.  Butter.  Throw in a hardy tablespoon or two.  Leave the butter on the counter for the afternoon so it's nice and soft when you're ready to cook.  And add salt and pepper to taste.  Squeeze a half to a full lemon over the sauce.  Let the mixture cook down a bit. 

The finished product
Add the chicken to the sauce and place in a pre-heated 250 - 300 degree oven till finished.  I like to cook it low and slow so I don't have to worry about the chicken burning or coming out dry.  Cook it for about 30 minutes.  You know it's finished when the aroma of delicious chicken and wine start to waft through the house.  You can keep it warm in the oven at 200 degrees while you set the table or have a pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine. 
While certainly not the usual Skinny fare, this holiday meal was delicious.  And still better than turkey with stuffing and gravy which contains more fat and tons of carbs.  I'm not waiting until Christmas to have it again!  It would be especially good on a snowy night like tonight.
1/2 chicken breast per person
1/2 - 1 full cup white wine suitable for drinking
1/2 package sliced white mushrooms or 2 cups of your favorite mushrooms chopped into slices
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
2 tbspns Canola or olive oil
Butter to taste - 1 - 2 tbspns
Juice of one lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat grill or skillet until piping hot - 400 degrees for grill
Warm an oven safe nonstick skillet for the mushroom gravy
Dry the chicken breast with paper towels
Smear 1 tbspn oil on chicken breast
Place skin size down and brown - about 3 - 5 minutes - keep an eye on it
Flip breast and cook other side for about 3 minutes
Meanwhile, turn up heat on skillet
Add olive oil and butter
Toss in mushrooms - about 2 cups
As they brown add 1/4 - 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, cut in slivers
Add garlic cloves, crushed
Add in 3/4 cup white wine
Add in lemon juice
Add salt and pepper to taste - about 1 tspn salt and 1/2 tspn coarse ground pepper
Bring to a simmer and let reduce - about 5 minutes
Add the chicken breast (when it's been browned)
Transfer to pre-heated 300 degree oven
Cook for about a half hour
Reduce heat to 200 degrees to keep warm until you're ready to serve
Check with a meat thermometer - it's done when 160 degrees
Serve and enjoy!

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