Three Herb Chicken and Mushrooms
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I just got home from schlepping some groceries. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, except for two things. One, my sciatica (on both sides – ouch!) is horrible today; and two, there was a gal not that far from me in the produce aisle who kept coughing all over the vegetables. The flu is going around this state like crazy! She didn’t even cover her mouth. It took everything I’ve got not to say something. I figured it wasn’t worth it; if someone is that clueless, I’m not going to have any luck in educating her.
But I sure didn’t buy any of the veggies anywhere around her, that’s for sure! If I get the flu, at least I know who to blame.
I have two good-sized herb gardens, and I grow thyme in the vegetable garden, too, because it’s a good companion to so many veggies I grow.
I am pretty diligent about drying them each Fall. I use my awesome Excalibur Food Dehydrator (here’s a link on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2EV7vSF), which makes quick work of them. I only dry one type of herb at a time, since sometimes the herbs will fall into the little holes in the trays, and I don’t want to mix them up.
This is one of the signs I made for my Etsy shop, Lofty Perch. I really do love herbs.
Some herbs, like sage or oregano, pile up a few inches, so I’ll dry only 3 or 4 trays at a time. The dehydrator has 9 trays, and you could fill all of these trays if you’re drying something like sundried tomatoes or banana slices, or anything that will lie flat.
My tomato crop was pathetic this year, so didn’t get many sundried tomatoes. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck this coming summer.
After drying my herbs, I put them in labelled mason jars and store them back in my cool laundry room/pantry. By “cool,” I don’t mean awesome. I mean, it’s always cold back there. And the fact that they are in the near-dark is a plus for maintaining their fresh flavor.
Growing herbs is unbelievably easy. They love lousy soil; they love the heat; they don’t like to be fertilized; they don’t need much water and, miracle of all miracles, the deer don’t eat them! Also, insects generally stay away (although sage will get white fly on the back of the leaves, which can be washed off with water and your fingers) and they aren’t prone to any diseases, that I know of. There are no other plants in the garden that are as easy to grow.
Best of all, herbs have amazing health benefits and they bring otherwise boring things like chicken to life.
So, there you go!
This photo is of my tiny thyme plants I’m trying to grow in our sunroom. To be honest, we have no decent light in the house during the gray, soggy Oregon wintertime, so its conditions are not the best. Eventually I’ll put it under a grow light. But herbs are very hardy, so I’m hoping this will grow up so I can add it to my collection!
This recipe today comes from Better Homes and Gardens. In the interest of my health (and my ever-persistent muffin top), I’m using chicken breasts.
I’m thinking that when the thighs come out of the oven, there is going to be some residual fat in the pan, in which to cook the mushrooms. That can’t be said for using breasts. If there isn’t any fat in your pan when you’ve cooked your chicken, I’d add a Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or a pat of butter to the pan before adding the mushrooms. Plus, let’s face it: butter just rocks!
Three Herb Chicken and Mushrooms
8 chicken thighs, skin on
2 Tablespoons snipped fresh rosemary (2 teaspoons dried)
2 Tablespoons snipped fresh thyme (2 teaspoons dried)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 ounce cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken on both sides with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tablespoon (or 2 teaspoons dried) of the rosemary and 1 Tablespoon (or 2 teaspoons dried) of the thyme.
In a large cast iron or other oven-going skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, skin sides down; cook 5 to 7 minutes until browned on one side.
Turn chicken pieces over and transfer to hot oven. If using skinless chicken breasts, turn over and lightly brown the second side, and then move to the oven. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done (170° for thighs, 165° for breasts).
Remove chicken from skillet; set aside (cover with foil). In the same skillet, cook and stir mushrooms over medium high heat for about 4 minutes.
Add 1 Tablespoon flour to skillet, stirring to coat mushrooms.
Whisk in chicken broth, wine and mustard.
Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir one minute more. I wanted a slightly thicker sauce, so I sprinkled a tiny little bit of more flour over the bubbling mixture. Then I cooked a bit more, to cook the flour and get rid of any flour taste.
Remove skillet from heat. Only if you are using fresh herbs: Add remaining 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, remaining 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, and fresh parsley. You never want to add dry herbs at the last minute in any sauce or dish. You’ve already added them at the start. That’s why I said “2 teaspoons dried.”
Serve mushrooms and sauce over chicken.
I’ll confess, I am not the biggest fan of regular quinoa, but I really like red quinoa. It maintains its firmness better than the regular. It’s pretty yummy when you can pile up chicken and sauce on top of it. It’s really high in protein and red quinoa is pretty, to boot. If you have any leftover, you can add some to your salads. You always need to rinse any quinoa before cooking, to remove the saponin. This is a phytochemical that occurs naturally and adds a bitter taste to quinoa. So rinse, first.
I cook one cup red quinoa to 1 1/2 cups water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring water to a boil, and reduce to a simmer and cover. It will take about 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes. Fluff with chopsticks or a fork.
Enjoy! Think about growing some herbs this summer. They’re really fun and easy to grow!
Cheers – Vicky