I’d planned to cook this a couple of weeks’ ago for the family but plans changed … as plans sometimes do … and it was put on hold. The family are in Wales this week for half term and despite being home alone, it’s Sunday and something a little special is always called for at the weekend. So I went back to the idea of this chicken dish. It’s something that can easily be made for just one … or doubled or quadrupled up for more.
In all honesty it’s very simple and the kind of thing I’ve ‘thrown together’ many times but the specifics came from seeking an Italian recipe two weeks’ ago. I’d planned to try out an Italian ‘starter’ (still on the ‘to do’ list) so was looking for an Italian main course. I’m definitely not fusion when it comes to cooking; I like food from many different countries but I like them to – mostly – retain their individual national character. And I do like to keep a meal pretty much from one nation or geographical area – Italian, French, Middle Eastern, Spanish, etc. This recipe – or ‘almost this recipe’ – is from Rick Stein’s Long Weekends and his dish hails from Palermo. He uses Sicilian Marsala wine and although I usually have some in my cupboard (essential for Tiramisu, Zabaione, etc.), I didn’t today. However, I did have a fairly new bottle of Madeira; another sweet wine that goes brilliantly with chicken (I often add some to a gravy when roasting chicken). Thus, one might say I’ve just disproved my claim to not like fusion food since Madeira is part of Portugal! But well, let’s not get too serious about these things. What I made was a really delicious dish and it can be put together nice and quickly.
Chicken with Madeira & Mushrooms – Serves 1
- 1 skinless chicken breast
- about 1 dessertspoon plain flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 25g butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 70g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 50ml dry Madeira
- 50ml chicken stock
- about 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of clingfilm and beat with a rolling pin. Beat fairly gently so the chicken breast doesn’t break apart. You want it to end up with an even thickness of about 5mm.
Put the flour on a plate and season with the salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers. Put the chicken breast in the flour, coat well, turn over and coat the other side. Then give it a good shake so excess flour falls off.
Melt half the butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan. When it starts to sizzle add the chicken and cook over a medium heat, 2-3 minutes each side, until a nice golden brown.
Remove the chicken to a plate. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen towel and add the remaining butter and oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes over a medium heat until they start to soften. Now add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for another couple of minutes until the mushrooms start to colour.
Add the Madeira. Let it bubble up and cook on a high heat for a minute or two until it reduces a bit. Now add the chicken stock. Stir and let it bubble up. Return the chicken to the pan and turn the heat back down to low-medium.
Cook the chicken in the sauce for about 10 minutes, turning once or twice so it takes up the flavour of the sauce all through. Check seasoning.
I served with some roasted small cubes of potato (Rick sautés his) and some tenderstem broccoli (dressed with a little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil). Scatter some finely chopped parsley over the top.
It looked very appetising and tasted delicious. Chicken is always beautifully tender when beaten out like this and cooked quickly. The sauce was fabulous and added that extra ‘special’ touch for a Sunday evening meal. The crispy little pieces of roasted potato, with a grating of sea salt over the top, made a great accompaniment with the broccoli. Definitely one to do again when the family next come!