Mustard-Maple Pan Sauce

Word on the street is that Chris likes my pan sauces. So, when I asked him what he wanted for dinner tonight, I should not have been surprised when he said “something with mushrooms and some sauce.”

Last time I made this, it was more mustardy with some wine white and shallots. I didn’t want to open a bottle of wine for this dish so I decided to go a different direction.

This recipe is based on the idea that you will have cooked chicken in a pan first. Or any meat although I think this sauce is well-suited to chicken breasts and boneless pork chops.

Ingredients

1 cup Water
1 teaspoon Chicken bouillon
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
8 ounce Mushrooms, sliced
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon Tarragon, dried
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
Salt
1 tablespoon Flour
1 tablespoon Butter

Instructions

Cook chicken in a saute pan. Remove chicken and keep warm.

Combine flour and butter by rolling together between 2 pieces of wax paper.
Combine bouillon and water.

Without cleaning pan, add garlic and saute 15-20 seconds. Add onions and stir to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt.

Cook mushrooms & onions until mushrooms have released most of their water, about 5-7 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, tarragon and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup. Whisk to combine with mushrooms and onions and continue cooking until very little moisture remains.

Add 1 water/broth, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup. Bring to a boil until liquid is reduced by half.

Reduce heat to low and stir in butter-flour mixture, whisking to melt. Sauce will thicken. Serve over warmed chicken (may return chicken to pan to increase heat and coat).

Makes two generous servings or 4 normal servings.


There was plate-licking so it must have been good.

Top Ten Ever List Item

According to Chris, I “hit this one out of the park.” And its “on the top ten ever list.” And I “can make this again later this week.”

What did I make?

Just some pork n’ potatoes.

I used this potato recipe from Simply Recipes but with a few modifications:

Ingredients

* 3 Slices of thick style bacon
* 1/2 pound new purple potatoes sliced in half and then in small wedges
* 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
* 4 medium sized shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
* Olive oil
* Kosher Salt
* Freshly cracked pepper
* 1 pinch red pepper flakes
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
* 1 tablespoon chopped capers
* 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

1 In a small sauté pan heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat. Add the sliced onions in one even layer, after five minutes add 1/2 tablespoon of butter, stir and add a pinch of kosher salt. While rendering your bacon and cooking your mushrooms in the next steps, make sure to stir the onions every few minutes and remove once they are evenly browned. This should take around 30 minutes, remove from heat when finished and reserve.

2 While the onions are slowly cooking slice the bacon in small batonettes (1/8-inch crosswise strips) on your cutting board. Heat up a larger sauté pan on medium and when your pan is hot add the sliced bacon. Slowly sauté the bacon until slightly crispy and remove from the pan on to a paper towel-lined plate, reserve for later.

3 Julienne the shiitake mushrooms and then add them to the pan which now has the rendered bacon fat. Add a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper to the Shitake mushrooms, don’t shake the pan but let the mushrooms brown evenly on one side. Once browned, flip the mushrooms delicately and remove from pan onto a smaller plate, reserve.

My changes:

Used red skin potatoes instead of purple.

Used regular bacon instead of thick-cut (honestly, I think that thick-cut would have been better but at minimum, get decent center-cut bacon. More meat and less fat).

Used a 4 oz package of shiitake mushrooms which may or may not be equivalent to the original.

Used 1 tsp dried tarragon instead of fresh. Added the tarragon to the potatoes after the first flip during browning. Left out the capers as we don’t have any. For fresh green color, I tossed a little roughly chopped parsley (curly) on just before serving.


Pan-fried Pork with White Wine-Tarragon sauce:

Ingredients

2 medium-thick boneless pork chops or similar
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs seasoned with Italian seasonings
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend with parmesan)
1/4 cup Chardonnay
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 scant tablespoon Creole mustard (or other grainy-type)
up to 2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
olive oil

Directions

1. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in a shallow dish or plate. In second dish/plate, break the egg and whisk lightly to combine yolk and white. Season pork with salt & pepper, both sides.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. When heated, dredge pork in egg then in bread crumb mixture. You can pat the bread crumbs on for better stick, if necessary.

3. Saute pork 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to plate, cover and keep warm.

4. Bring heat up to medium-high and add wine to pan, deglazing for any bits on the bottom. Add vegetable broth, tarragon and mustard. Bring to a boil.

5. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to just above low, add cold butter. Start with 1 tablespoon. Melt in to sauce then add second tablespoon if thicker sauce is desired.

Rosemary

I made dinner awhile ago.  Chris is in love with his new rice cooker so he, earlier, had put a pot of jasmine rice on.  We had the parmesan-crusted chicken from Kroger on standby in the fridge and just needed a way to tie it all together.  Oh, and baby bella mushrooms were on sale this week so we have several packages in the crisper.

I decided to make an enhanced tomato sauce using our favorite Prego Organic Tomato-Basil as a base.

To make the chicken:

  • Heat oven to 350.  Spray a small baking pan with non-stick spray or olive oil spray.
  • Cut 1/2 onion in to wedges and place in the pan.  Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.
  • Place chicken over onions and bake in oven. I set timer for 30 minutes initially.
  • After 30 minutes, I took the onions out and I put my thermometer-timer probe in one breast and set the temperature-alert for 163 degrees.  It took another 6 minutes back in the oven for the  chicken to finish.

For Sauce:

  • Heat 1 tbls olive oil (I used a garlic infused one) in a pan.  Add 1/4 onion chopped and 1 sprig of finely chopped rosemary to the pan. Saute 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the pan, stir to combine. Allow to cook 2-3 minutes then add 2 pinches salt and walk away.  The water will come out of the mushrooms and they’ll shrink down.  Let them cook about 7-8 minutes.
  • Pour 1/4 cup red wine over mushrooms.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer while the chicken finishes (about 10-15 minutes).
  • When I took the onions out of the baking pan (see above), I put them in sauce to finish.

I used Tiz red wine for the sauce. We had about 1/4 bottle left from a previous meal so half went in the pan and half in my glass.

This rosemary was so fragrant and beautiful looking, I had to take that picture.  I found these bundles (also bought some sage) at Horrock’s Farm Market this week.  I think later this week I’m going to fry some of the sage for garnish on some kind of risotto.

Sounding pretty good?  Wouldn’t a picture really bring it to life?

The problem with food photos is you can’t take a quality photo of hot food. The steam interferes and makes the picture look all fuzzy.  And if you wait for it to cool off? Well, see above!

This is Chris’s plate. Note the near oblitaration of the sauce.

Pollo Tempranillo

Having opened a bottle of red wine last night, I thought I might use some of it in cooking tonight’s dinner.  I had taken a package of chicken breasts from the freezer yesterday so I knew I’d be using that as the protein.  The only wine-focused dish I could think of was Beef Bourguignon (aka Beef Burgundy).  I had that once, in 6th grade, at Disney’s Epcot Center.  My 11-year old tastebuds were definitely not prepared for the complexity of such a dish. I believe I traded with my dad.

When I got home, I looked up Beef Burgundy and found a few recipes that I thought I could modify. I mostly worked off this one at RecipeZaar

Ingredients

3 slices bacon, chopped before cooking
1 lb chicken breast, cut in to 1 inch cubes
1/2 onion, sliced
2 portabellas and 1 handful shiitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 sprigs each thyme and rosemary, fresh
approx 1 1/2 tbs tomato paste
sage, 1/2 tsp divided
1 1/4 cups medium-bodied red wine like tempranillo, merlot or a shiraz.
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil
1/4 cup flour & 1/4 cup water combined
salt & pepper

starch of your choice but I recommend noodles

Directions

Cook bacon over medium heat in large saute pan or dutch oven.  When cooked, remove bacon to a bowl leaving fat/drippings behind.  Add chicken and garlic to hot pan and brown the outside of the meat, 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and season with salt and pepper.  Depending on how much fat is in the pan, add enough olive oil to equal 1 tablespoon.  Add onions and mushrooms to pan, cook 3-4 minutes until vegetables are softened. Remove from the pan and add to bacon in bowl.  Return chicken to the pan along with any juicee. Add add wine, broth, thyme, rosemary and half of sage along with tomato paste.  When you add the first liquid, use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.  Remove lid, add flour-water mixture then mix in mushrooms (and onions and bacon) and rest of sage. Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes until sauce thickens as desired.

Notes:

In retrospect, I would have made this with chicken thighs. I think the darker meat would hold up better to the longer cooking times.  No matter what meat you use, adjust your cooking times to create tender but not overcooked meat.

Adjust seasonings as desired.  Thyme seems to be consistently included in the recipes I looked at.  I like rosemary in everything and I just bought some sage so it seemed like a reasonable addition.  I think my tastebuds are still off-kilter from the antibiotics and their side effects* so I probably under seasoned this dish. Chris didn’t seem to mind.

Tonight, I served this over garlic-parsley fettuccine but I think it would be pretty tasty over mashed potatoes too.

*I’m off the antibiotics now despite still having some issues.  Woke up Sunday morning to a rash all over my arms and legs. One trip to Urgent Care later, I’m itchy and officially allergic to penicillin.

I feel like Chicken tonight

Remember those annoying commercials from the 90s; people singing the song and flapping their arms like chickens?
You don’t remember?

How about now?

Well, the product was not a big hit in the US however its still quite popular in Australia and the UK. And apparently you can get Beef Tonight and Sausage Tonight over in England. I don’t really remember it that well, in terms of ingredients but I seem to recall that it was a lot like pasta sauce that you poured over chicken instead of well, pasta. For reasons that will become apparent, I thought of this stuff while making dinner on Moday night.


Ingredients

2 chicken breast halves, pounded thin
1 small onion, chopped
mushrooms, about 6 crimini sliced
dried morels, rehydrated in hot water for 10 minutes, save the water**
Prego pasta sauce, basil & tomato, about 1/3 of a jar
balsamic vinegar
Tuscan Seasoning Blend
garlic
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
pasta- rice spaghetti

Directions

I used the meat mallet to pound the chicken thin after removiing the tenders. I’ve decided to do this more often since it cooks a lot faster and evenly. Heavily season both sides of the chicken breasts with the Tuscan Seasoning. This stuff, from Spice Islands comes in an adjustable grinder. It has garlic, salt, red bell pepper, orange peel and some Italian-type spices so you could make your own or a reasonable approximation. I used it on medium grind and made sure I covered both sides completely.

Start a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti. I used rice spaghetti tonight due to my dietary restrictions. I had no idea what to expect but I didn’t tell Chris until he was eating it. We were both pleased with the pasta. You really could not tell the difference between it and regular wheat pasta. I have used low-carb pasta before and it was an awful sticky mess and tasted not good.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a pan (preferablly not a non-stick one). Place your chicken breasts in the pan and don’t touch them! After 3-5 minutes, when you try to flip the chicken, it will lift off the pan easily. If its still stuck, its not ready and leave it be for 30 more seconds. Cook on the other side for an additional 3-5 minutes (same test applies). Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.

Add 1 chopped garlic clove to the pan and let cook about 30 seconds. Then pour in just enough of the reserved water from the dried mushrooms to deglaze the pan. Turn the heat up slightly and add your mushrooms and onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes until onions turn translucent. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the pan, about 2 teaspoons worth. Let the onions and mushrooms cook down until they are softened and golden brown. Optional: Make a spot in the middle and add another chopped clove of garlic at this point- let saute for 20 seconds. Pour the pasta sauce in to the pan and stir to combine. Strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and add them to the pan. Depending on how sauce-y you want it, you can add more of the mushroom water to thin it out. Turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Cook the pasta while you are sauteing the mushrooms and onions. Depending on the variety and size of the pasta, your cooking times will vary so adjust accordingly. Plan to drain the pasta while the sauce is simmering in the other pan. Just before serving, add the pasta to the sauce so it can absorb some of the tomato flavor.

To serve, top the pasta & sauce with the chicken and garnish with cheese and fresh basil if you’ve got it.

My Chicken Tonight
My Chicken Tonight

Notes

You can use any mushrooms or mushroom combination of course. I used what was on hand. Ideally, you want equal amounts of uncooked mushrooms and onions, if not more mushrooms.

Of course, use whatever pasta sauce you prefer also. Chris likes this Prego variety because it makes a good base for all kinds of things including pizza sauce (just add some tomato paste). I like it because its organic and not full of a bunch of junk like high-fructose corn syrup. It does have sugar but even homemade pasta sauce has sugar quite often. And again, you can easily enhance it depending on the requirements of the dish.