Railroad Potatoes

Chris loves Indian food. Loves it. He’d never partaken of the tikka masala, the tandoori, the naan (etc) until I took him to a place in Grand Rapids with some friends. Good Indian but by no means comparable to the two places I know best, both located in Metro Detroit.

Sadly, in all this time we’ve been tgoether, I still haven’t been able to take him to either of those places (I also recently learned that Priya in Troy has new owners and is no longer very good or very clean).  For now, we have made do with regular trips to Sindhu in East Lansing. If this place were on the west side of campus instead of at the Epcot Center World Tour Plaza* (uh, Hagadorn Plaza) on the east side of Michigan State University, we’d probably be eating there weekly.

I tend to vary my choices there but usually get chicken biryani or some chicken dish which is not on the restaurantdb.net website menu so I can never remember what its called until I get there. Chris always gets chicken tikka masala. He’s obsessed, I think.

Not having a tandoor oven at home, its almost impossible to recreate the flavors for this dish as you get in a restaurant. Awhile back, I made chicken tikka masala from almost-scratch, a recipe I’ve repeated a few times since then. But on this President’s Day, despite having a 3 day weekend, I didn’t have the motivation or time to do a full court press. Plus, I was watching the Olympics! And knitting because that is my new hobby.
So, I used a jar of tikka masala simmer sauce. I wish I could tell you which brand I used but I threw out the jar already. It wasn’t great and I can say that it was not the Seeds of Change brand. We do like that one although there is not enough to cover 1 lb of chicken, in my opinion (I add yogurt or cream at the end). I had just a bit of the tandoori spice mix from the spice shop in Ann Arbor so I sprinkled that on the chicken before sauteing it.


My main focus tonight was on the side dish. Normally, we have rice and/or naan. However, over a month ago, I bought Chris a book about Indian cooking at home- using only 5 spices. I thought this would be perfect for him to try out as Indian food can quickly become complicated with many spices, frying seeds, grinding and mixing, etc.. Since, a month later, no Indian has magically appeared on the nights when it was his turn to cook, I grabbed the bull by the horns (or the book by the covers) and picked something out.

The five spices required in 5 Spices, 50 dishes are: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ground cayenne and ground turmeric.  At our last trip to Whole Foods, I picked up the coriander seeds and also some cardamom pods (green) because I like to add those to the rice. We already had everything else in stock. Side note: my spice “rack” is out of control.

This particular recipe uses 3 of the five spices.

Railroad Potatoes

(Slight modifications, as noted, from original in book)

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
3-4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced (equaled 2 cups for me)
2 teaspoons salt (!)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

DirectionsSlice potatoes in to quarters then crosswise in to 1/4 inch slices. The original called for red skins and smaller chunks but this is what I needed to use up and hello, Olympics are on!

Make the tadka: Heat oil in large deep pan or wok. When oil begins to smoke, add mustard seeds and cover with a lid.  Once seeds stop spattering, add turmeric and stir. Then add onions and potatoes, salt and cayenne. Toss together, cover and cook over medium heat about 10-15 minutes.

Railway/road potatoes in all their yellow glory!

The book calls these Railway Potatoes because the author’s mother often made these up and served them during train trip vacations. For travel purposes, I think smaller potatoes and lots of onion would be fabulous on bread- just like she described.

One modification I should have made was using less salt. I got two cups of onion out of 1/2 an onion but the recipe suggested a whole onion and perhaps the extra salt would have been okay. Not that they weren’t good but they were a little saltier than I prefer.

A tadka, for the uninitiated is how the flavor of the spices get in to the oil (and hence in to the food) while also bringing out the best of those spices. Because you are working with hot oil, its important to have all your ingredients ready before you heat the oil, just like with Chinese stir-fry.

A quick note about my discovery of this book: I originally entered a contest to win it from the food blog Food on the Food. When I didn’t win, I ordered it from the ubiquitous Amazon. There are a lot of books that use 5-7 spices for making Indian food. I have no idea if this one is the best but I have several recipes marked and I believe that most are more authentically Indian that Chris’s beloved chicken tikka masala. I have the feeling this is the kind of food our old neighbors used to make, the stuff that made us want to just barge in over there on a nightly basis as the aromas filled the hallway of our building.

If any Michigan readers visit Food on the Food, try not to get too jealous. Tammy’s regular descriptions of her farm share, her fish share and all the locally available meats, cheeses, and the like make me pout. Instead, plan a trip to the Boston area using her posts as a travelogue guide- just be sure to get a hotel room with a kitchen so you can cook on your vacation. (Seriously, we are thinking of doing something like this next fall on a honeymoon anniversary return to Vermont).

**I am reminded of a childhood trip to Epcot Center when they had this International Village thing (at the time only 10 or so countries) where you could walk from section to section, visiting Mexico, France, Morocco and more in just steps. That is what I think of when I go to Hagadorn Plaza: sushi, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean and even Jimmy John’s, all in one strip mall.

One final picture, a little Photoshop goof that came out really cool looking although I probably wouldn’t eat anything that looked like this:

Mushroom Risotto, v. 12,005,359,359

Down the hatch!

  

One of many variations on a theme but significantly different enough to make me want to post the recipe.   

While on Christmas vacation, Chris and I dined at a place called the Dock Cafe in Stillwater, Minnesota, overlooking the frozen St. Croix River.  It was a total guess and a lucky one in the end. Good food and it was 1/2 price wine night. After much dithering, I went for the wild mushroom risotto with pancetta. It was very good and very filling- I couldn’t get through even half of it especially as I wanted to save a bit of room for dessert.  The nice thing about this risotto was that it was creamy without a lot of added creamy fats like cream, butter and cheese.   

I did not recreate that risotto for dinner tonight but I was inspired by it.  I have made risotto with mushrooms on many previous occasions, hence the post title. I also have a nice mushroom noodle thing with ground meat that shares much in common with this dish.  

Ingredients   

1 cup arborio rice
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3-4 slices bacon, sliced in to lardons (or pancetta, maybe?)
8-10 oz mushrooms, sliced- any kind is fine, I used shiitakes and crimini
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced/pressed
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup apple brandy, from Uncle John’s Winery in St. Johns
1/4 cup shredded cheese blend (parmesan, …)
3 cups broth or water or combination
salt & pepper
olive oil (maybe) 

Directions   

1. Saute bacon in large pan until crispy. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain. If necessary, drain some fat from pan leaving approximately 1 tablespoon.   

2. Heat broth or water to simmering in a separate pot (or in the microwave like I did)   

3. Add sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked down and most of liquid has come out of mushrooms. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.   

4. If necessary, add olive oil or some bacon fat back to pan. This step is only necessary if the pan is pretty dry.   

5. Add onions, celery and garlic to pan, season with salt, pepper and thyme.. Cook until softened and onions have slighltly yellowed.   

6. Add arborio rice and stir to combine. Add apple brandy (or other liquor/wine or even just broth or water) to deglaze pan. Scrape bottom of pan to pick up any tasty bits.   

7. Once most of liquid from step 6 has been absorbed, begin adding 1/2 to 1 cup of broth or water to pan at a time, stirring continously until mostly absorbed then adding more liquid.   

8. Continue adding broth or water until rice reaches desired doneness. Ideally this should be al dente- with a slight bite- but its mostly a matter of personal preference.   

9.  Return mushrooms and bacon pieces to pan along with 1 teaspoon thyme.10. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese blend. This step is also optional but as this is not a very brothy risotto, I think it adds a nice punch while keeping the mix somewhat creamy.  


Okay, true confession time. I almost never stir my risotto constantly as per the usual instructions. I’m usually too busy with cooking the other parts of the meal or running in to the living room to check Facebook (or something else equally important). On the night I made this, I did stir pretty much continously.  

I’m now a convert.

At least when I have the time.  It cooked much faster and actually used less broth than usual.  


 

  • The apple brandy was a fall purchase during a visit for cider and donuts. We sampled the wines, learned that neither of us are big fruit wine people then decided to buy the brandy, mostly for cooking purposes. I was also envisioning making a sangria type thing in the future.  I had only used it once before, for an apple dessert dish that did not turn out, through no fault of the brandy.  Tonight, I used it because primarily because the bottle was already open and I didn’t want to open a bottle of white just for this dish. 
  • The apple flavor was pretty subtle in the end dish but on the whole, it felt more warm than when I make it with wine. A good pairing with the thyme and bacon.

 

  • I updated my Facebook status during the cooking of this dish and received a comment from a friend to stop posting about food because I was making her hungry, even though she’d just ate.  As it happens, she’s a vegetarian and wouldn’t be able to enjoy this particular dish but, her comment did make me think about how to adapt for the non-meat eaters.  I am not a big fan of the fake bacon but if you are vegetarian and like it, then go for it. I would suggest replacing the bacon fat at the beginning with some butter though. Mushrooms cook up better in animal fats than vegetable fats like olive oil, in my opinion. Combining equal parts olive oil and butter would also probably work- I often go that route to saute onions when I’m making plain(er) risotto.  If you are a vegan, you are on your own.

Carrot Mushroom Barley Stew

Or, Mushroom Carrot Barley Stew. Or even Barley Stew with carrots and mushrooms.  Also includes kale, carrots, onions and ginger.

My Christmas Present!

Earlier this week, I tweeted about prepping for a pork stew in the slow cooker. I cut the veggies and combined things in plastic containers so that come morning, Chris could just toss things in, season the pork and set the crockpot on low. I would get home from work around 5 pm which would be the right time to take the pork out and shred it then serve.

It all worked perfectly. But.  But.

It was not tasty. Not at all.

Fatty/greasy broth and you could barely taste the aromatics (allspice and thyme plus garlic and ginger). This recipe was one of several I’d pulled from a copy of Food Network TV magazine. Last Sunday I’d made a chicken chili, using a recipe in an advertisement for crockpots and it was delicious. In fact, I’m going to make it again this week since my slow cooker is small and I had to halve the original recipe so I have extra everything.

But this pork stew was not good. We tried adding salt/pepper. We tried adding various acids to cut the fatty taste. I added fresh herbs. Nope, nada, nothing. I put the whole thing in the fridge as we were going to the movies. Now, its sitting in there, hogging my slow cooker insert with a not very appetizing layer of congealed fat on top. Mocking me.

So…. it was with great apprehension that I went forward with my plan to make this Barley stew tonight. I have been itching to use my new Le Creuset pot, I had all the ingredients and no real purpose for the shiitake mushrooms than this recipe. It was time to bite the bullet.

Now, I’m going to have to make a third recipe from the magazine to break the tie.

This soup was fantastic.

It smelled amazing in the pot, especially when I was toasting the barley and mushrooms.

This smelled divine!

The carrot added some sweetness which was balanced by the earthy mushrooms and just slightly bitter kale. This will defiinitely go on the repeat list.

Carrot-Mushroom Barley Soup

Ingredients

2 cups carrot juice
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup instant barley
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, including leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
4 medium carrots, cut in to 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups kale or mustard greens, leaves torn
1 tablespoon grated ginger
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Bring carrot juice, 3 cups water and mushrooms stems to a boil in a saucepan

2. Heat olive oil and two tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and barley, stirring to coat. Cook approximately 5 minutes, until barley is toasted.

3. Add onion, celery and rosemary, season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

4. Add carrots and cook 2 more minutes.

5. Increase heat to high and add half of carrot juice, omitting mushroom stems. Bring to a boil and cook until most of liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes.

6. Add remaining carrot juice, kale and ginger, stirring to combine. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

7. Stir in remaining two tablespoons butter.

8. Serve!

Notes: Everything took longer than listed but that could just be me being conservative and trying to work out the best temp for my new cast-iron pot.

I added more rosemary, probably doubling to 1/2 teaspoon. I still didn’t notice it being strong in the end product but if you don’t like rosemary, stick with the original.

The recipe indicates this makes 4 servings at 333 calories each. I can’t imagine eating a full one-quarter of the pot-full of soup. Both Chris and I had big bowls and I still divided the rest up in to 3 more containers which felt like a lot of food per person. I also question the nutrition analysis based on this have 4 tablespoons of butter and two of olive oil.

Final Product- Look at those colors!

Ah-ha, I ran this recipe through Nutrition Data’s analyzer and it came back as 495 calories per serving, assuming we divide the total by 4. Thus, the calories listed at 333 are probably right for the size of serving I had and I would call the “serves 4” an error.

This was a great first dish for the Le Creuset- next up will have to be something from the newly arrived Art of French Cooking since Julie & Julia inspired the purchase to begin with.

**Full disclosure: those last two pictures are Photoshopped. I was playing with Actions and that last one, Sunshine, perfectly described how this soup stew tasted to me. Also, it counteracts the high noise levels becuase I was shooting in horrible light and had to boost the ISO.

Thanksgiving 2009

A small gathering this year, just 4 people, Chris, my parents and I.

Not that I would let that stop me from making too much food. I had the usual suspects: turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Then, a few things to try. In consideration of my vegetarian mom, I make the stuffing with vegetable broth. This year I am also adding a wild rice dish, also vegetarian. I did not plan a strictly vegetable dish. I have a in-law family recipe for green beans as a back-up but I’m hoping no one misses it. I was never a fan of the green bean casserole anyhow. I also wanted to make an apple based dessert after buying a bag of Michigan Empire apples at Whole Foods.

For pre-dinner noshing, we had onion dip (from 101 cookbooks, a personal favorite of mine and always a hit at parties) and chips with cheese, crackers and a fruit platter.

Dinner is:

Smashed Red Skin Potatoes:  Made these last year too, but subbed thyme for rosemary this year. Still think they are awesome on every level. Creamy, good on their own but also tasty with gravy. The cream cheese adds a tangy level of flavor you won’t get using milk.

I am still interested in making a whole mean of mashed potato varieties some time, just not for a holiday dinner.

Wild Rice-Corn Casserole: From Pioneer Woman, using of  course, frozen corn because you can’t find fresh sweet corn in Michigan in late-November. Comments on PW’s site indicate this is either a love it or hate it dish. It was a love it dish for us. I added a little shredded cheese and onion crisps for the last 10 minutes of cooking (reasons listed below). My dad, the usually quiet type, actually commented on my Facebook about this dish!

Stuffing/Dressing: No recipe really. I used some stuffing cubes with seasoning, adding celery and onions, chopped apples, and vegetable broth, generally following the guidelines on the bag of cubes. Baked in the oven, separate from the bird, again in consideration of my mom’s needs. Chris doesn’t really like it this way and has been correcting my use of the word “stuffing” as it was not actually stuffed in the bird. Whatever.

Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Turkey: I brined the turkey overnight, just using salt, sugar and a handful of thyme plus a bit of rosemary. The next day, the turkey is thoroughly rinsed and allowed to air dry slightly. Then, using the cell phone photo of a recipe in Cooking Light magazine (as seen at the dentist on Wednesday but later located on the internet),  I created a butter-garlic-rosemary rub to put under the skin on the breasts then over the skin everywhere.

Gravy:  No picture, no recipe. After taking the turkey out of the oven, I removed it to a serving dish and covered it in foil to rest. The drippings from the pan were poured off and I set the pan over two burners set to medium. Using a wooden spatula, I scraped up the bits and goodies, then added a few tablespoons of flour to make a paste. I then added 2 cups of chicken broth before mixing in the drippings which had been skimmed of most of the fat. Cook over medium-low until a little less thick than you want at the table. Because of that garlic paste on the bird, this gravy was uber-garlicky. And delicious.

**Dandelion Greens: Even though I didn’t plan any green vegetable dish, my mom mentioned having a bag of dandelion greens and suggested I could do something with them. I wasn’t sure if Chris would like them as they can be quite bitter but he does like arugula, a lot. I really did not want to do something like creamed spinach or otherwise add a lot of cheese/cream/dairy to the greens. I decided to just saute them in garlic and olive oil with some lemon juice added at the end. I also added a bit of sugar to counter the bitter. I should have added a lot of sugar. Even then, though, I don’t think this dish was going to work. The leaves were fully wilted but the stems were still very crunchy, even after trimming a fair amount of stalk off. Either this batch was just far too bitter for anyone in the family to eat or every recipe on the internet is only for people who really like bitter greens because all the sauteed versions I found recommend cooking for no more than 10 minutes; seemingly nothing was going to make it less bitter except perhaps more sugar. Which defeats the purpose, in my mind.

Apple-Cranberry Crumble: No picture, sorry. Actually, my parents didn’t stay to eat dessert so Chris and I tried this later on. It was decent, the crumble topping was especially tasty- of course I’d expect that of something made with brown sugar and butter! I should have peeled the apples. The recipe is Martha Stewart but I found it by way of the blog Lisa is Cooking. As Lisa did, I skipped peeling the apples but I think I would have been happier if I had although it could just be that the Empire apples were not the best choice even though they are recommended for baking.  Maybe a little more sugar? I did add a few splashes of our apple brandy from Uncle John’s Cider Mill & Fruit Winery in St. Johns. I had planned to serve this with ginger ice cream but didn’t. I guess I’ll just have to eat that some other way!


Now that you know how the meal came out, let’s talk about how it was made.

The night before, I made the carmelized onions for the onion dip and cooked up the wild rice too. And of course, brined the turkey.

When my parents arrived Thursday morning, following the Lansing Turkey Trot, I made up the dip and pulled the turkey out of the refrigerator. We had our snacks and generally, I goofed around. I planned to have dinner about 5:30-6pm so there was plenty of time.

Eventually, I prepped the turkey (it sits out for 1 hour with the rub on it) and started assembling my stuffing, corn/wild rice dish and scrubbing potatoes.

The turkey is roasted at 500° for 30 minutes then the temperature turned down to 250° and cooked until thermometer in the thigh reads 165°. My turkey, round about 11 lbs was the same size as the recipe version so this should have equaled 2 hours.

During the initial 30 minute high-heat roast, you can really hear the fat cracklin in the oven. And, upon opening the oven to insert the thermometer for the 2nd phase, I set off our smoke detectors briefly.  Oops.  Our oven, a gas version, doesn’t actually have a reading for 250° on the dial. It goes from “warm” to 260° to 300°. Knowing that it runs a little cold anyway, I set it just below the 300° mark.

After about 45 minutes, I put the stuffing/dressing and the wild rice dish in the oven too. Normally, these only need 30-45 minutes but with the lower temperature for the slow-roasted bird, I decided this would work. The temperature on the bird was still rising so I didn’t pay much attention when I put these dishes in alongside.

Another 30 minutes later (so 1 hr 15 min down, 45 to go), I realize that A) the temp isn’t going up anymore and B) I don’t hear anything “cooking” in the oven. I open it up and immediately notice that abscence of heat. I fiddled with the control and couldn’t make the flame come up, even cranking it to broil. I realize this means the pilot has gone out- randomly since we never shut the oven off, at all. According to the directions on the oven, the door, racks and bottom of the oven have to be removed to access and light the pilot. Fortunately, the oven door comes off easily but we still had to take all the pans out. As I did so, it became apparent that the oven had been off for awhile as I could remove everything, including the roasting pan which had been in for 30 minutes at 500° degrees, with my bare hands.

After removing everything, finding a lighter and getting it lit, we started reassembly, only to have it go out again. It took four or 5 tries for it to stay lit. After you light the gas, you have to hold the knob down for 60 seconds and they should say “60 seconds minimum.” Of course, you can’t turn the oven to on yet because otherwise you’ll scorch a finger or two during reassembly.

All told, this process took 30 minutes and overall delayed dinner by about two hours. I still made gravy though- must have my gravy for my turkey. And potatoes. And stuffing.

Two notes:

**Notice the little gizmo next to the dandelion greens? Its our Vinturi wine aerator and it rocks! One of many wedding gifts used during this meal including new wine glasses and the platter upon which the turkey is sitting.

**The turkey recipe from Cooking Light advises you to remove the skin after the formal presentation. HA HA HA. Do it if you want but we did not want.

Mushroom-Sage Sauce & Squash Risotto

We are in the midst of moving right now (literally, thinks to scheduled posting). Due to my work schedule, size of some of our furniture and general laziness, we hire movers from Two Men and a Truck and they are doing the heavy lifting this afternoon. This will be my 4th move with them since March 2007 and the fifth between Chris and I- how about a volume discount.

For me, using Two Men became a necessity after moving myself (with my parents & aunt’s help) in to a 2nd floor apartment in Charlotte: the building was 120 years old and the 2nd floor was 27 steps up. And it poured rain that day- there might have even been a tornado that night. I immediately started saving money aside for my next move so I could hire movers and I did just that a short 6 months later thanks to my hard-partying, drug-dealing upstairs neighbor. Meeting Chris and moving in with him was a wonderful thing but it also meant that most of my stuff went to storage while we finished out his lease in a 1 bedroom apartment. Our current place, while 2 bed/2 bath was still not big enough for both our belongings and things like my washer/dryer were not needed. Finally, after the dog came to live with us in July, it became glaringly obvious that we needed more room and a place with space to store things rather than pay the storage company another 100 bucks a month.

Our new house, while still a rental, is awesome. Its not huge but we have 3 bedrooms: one for us, one for guests and one as an office/craft room (for me, Chris is not a scrapbooker). A bigger kitchen, a great view of the 10 acres inhabited by deer, wild turkey and something I heard running around in the trees last night. Oh yeah, and a garden tub in the master bath plus, drumroll please: a gas stove!!!

To save time (and money) with the movers, we have been taking boxes of things over to the house, a bit at a time, since October 1. As of Thursday morning, we had the pots and pans, some utensils and most of the dishware in the house. But other than pantry foods, we hadn’t moved or bought any edibles. With Chris’s brother in town, eating out was an opportunity/excuse to eat out but that was getting expensive. So, last night, Chris bought some chicken, squash and beans before calling me on my drive home from work to ask if I “wanted” to come to the house and cook dinner. As soon as he mentioned squash, I knew he wanted the risotto so I sent him out for broth while I stopped at the apartment to load another box with things like butter, olive oil and the like. While at the apartment, I did a quick search for some kind of sauce for the chicken as I didn’t have time to marinate nor did I feel like doing the whole breadcrumbs thing.

Over at Elise’s blog, I found a recipe for Mushroom Sage Sauce. Simply Recipes is one of my go-to websites although I often end up varying from her original based on what’s on hand. While you are there, check out the pictures of her parents’ new kitchen. I’m definitely saving those links for some future reference (I hope).

As per usual, I varied but did use the main elements from this Mushroom Sage sauce recipe. I probably would have been slightly more faithful except I didn’t write anything down and did not have access to the recipe once I got to the house.

Original Ingredients
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8-10 ounces mushrooms, cremini or shitake, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (light cream may curdle, so use heavy cream)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pieces pounded to an even 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thickness
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

I only had 1/2 package of mushrooms and no parsley. I did have creme fraiche but didn’t use it here because I forgot. With less mushrooms, I used less sage, about 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped. To add liquid, I used some of the extra broth from the risotto and then swirled in one tablespoon butter at the end.

In Elise’s version, she cooked the mushroom sauce separate from the chicken. Since I already had a burner going to simmer the broth and another for the risotto, I opted to cook the chicken first, hold it warm in the oven and prepare the sauce using any pan drippings/fond to add more flavor.

Basics:

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and seasonings of your choice. While in Vermont, we bought some Maple Pepper with Garlic so I used that (just like it sounds, pepper with maple sugar and garlic).

2. Heat pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. Saute chicken breasts until light golden, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Remove from pan, cover to keep warm.

4. Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan, plus a little more oil if the pan is a bit dry. Cook about 1 minute then add mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to soften and release their juices. Add 1/2 cup wine to pan to deglaze.

5. Add about 1 cup broth to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer until slightly reduced. Just before serving add 1 tablespoon butter to thicken sauce.

 


 

To accompany the chicken with mushroom sauce, I made the squash risotto which Chris loves so much. This time, I used some butternut squash from the freezer. Chris had bought me a squash- the biggest butternut squash I’ve ever seen. Peeling and chopping that sucker is going to take some time so I was quite happy to have my freezer stash for last night!!

For this version, I used Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc which was on sale at Horrocks and received 90 points from Wine Spectator. Seasonings were sage, thyme and a little cayenne (to counter the sweet squash). I also used about 1/3 cup of Creme Fraiche instead of butter at the end. For cheese, I had picked up of chunk of their special of the week: a really nutty, easily grateable variety from D&W in Williamston last weekend. Fresh sage at the end really added to the “oomph” factor and made the whole house smell delicious!

Both boys went back for seconds so its still a hit.