Sometimes being the hostess for one of the Secret Recipe Club’s groups has its advantages. This month when one of the team had a conflict and wasn’t going to be able to make something from her assigned blog, I got the chance to “adopt” and make something from Cookin’ Mimi, the fun and vibrant blog from Micha. You are going to love this chicken with a French Flair!
If you love Southern cooking, you are going to love Micha’s blog! She focuses on recipes that can be put together quickly with ingredients in your pantry, never sacrificing taste for ease of preparation. If you are short on time and don’t want fussy recipes, this is the food blog you will want to have bookmarked. I know you will love her recipes!
Because our reveals are on Mondays, I am always on the search for the perfect chocolate recipe. But this time because I made the Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake from Ilona’s Kitchen (see the post here), I was free to make anything I wanted from Micha’s blog – I immediately went to her savory section and started flipping through the recipes.
Plenty caught my eye, but as soon as I saw her recipe for Chicken Marengo, I knew I had found the perfect recipe. The Artist and I both love chicken dishes, especially when they have lots of vegetables and a rich sauce. Marengo sauce is a French creation made with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Add a little chicken stock and suddenly you have a sauce that had us both scraping our plates.
Earlier this week I made a layered vegetable gratin and got a little carried away with chopping – so I had some leftover veggies that needed to be used. Perfect. They got tossed in the sauce and got to hang out with the others in the recipe.
To enhance the flavors of the vegetables and reinforce the French flavor profile, I added some thyme to the sauce. You don’t have to use it, but I love it and add it to many recipes. It bumped up the sauce just a touch and The Artist was a happy camper.
In Micha’s original recipe, she calls for dredging the chicken cutlets in flour before sautéing them. Because I need my recipe to be gluten-free, I left off the flour coating. If you don’t have to worry about that, by all means dredge away. If you want a crispier gluten-free coating on the outside of the chicken, you could use seasoned rice flour or crushed gluten-free cereal.
To make the sauce a little richer, I used a traditional French method and whisked a little cold butter into the sauce. It adds a touch of richness, making this low calorie sauce taste like it is horribly fattening without adding many calories. This makes even the most mundane pan juices taste like a master chef made it!
Micha likes the sauce so much that she often makes a little extra and uses it to top baked potatoes. It would also be good served over her Yukon Mashed Potato Cakes … Mmmmm good! Thanks for the great ideas Micha!
The next time you are having a dinner party or want to jazz up your culinary repertoire, keep this recipe in mind. It is a real crowd pleaser!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When you are prepping vegetables for one recipe, go ahead and chop or slice some extras. You can wrap them up and keep them in the refrigerator. It will save you time when days are really hectic.
By leaving off the dredged flour coating in the original, I easily converted this recipe to gluten-free.
Kitchen Skill: Halving Boneless Chicken Breasts
Some boneless chicken breasts are very thick. Perfect for single serving entrees, they are too thick to use in sandwiches and take a lot longer to cook. By slicing them into two pieces, they are easier to work with, cook quickly, and help you cut back on the amount of protein served.
To halve them, lay one piece of chicken flat side down on a cutting board. Holding your sharp knife parallel to the board, gently press the top of chicken with your other palm, holding your hand flat. Use a sawing motion and carefully slice the breast in half. Make sure to keep your fingers out of the way! (See photos above.)
- 3 large chicken breasts
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
- 8 oz fresh mushrooms, quartered or thickly sliced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 cup chicken broth, divided (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces (optional)
- Cut each chicken breast in half slicing along the thin edge, creating two thinner slices from each breast (see photo). Season the chicken with salt and pepper; set aside for 10 minutes. Note: Micha suggests making chicken cutlets, which are similar to what I made except pounded. Check out her recipe for the directions on how to butterfly the chicken.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken pieces; add those pieces to the first batch and set aside.
- Add the onions and bell peppers to the same skillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 4 minutes or until slightly softened. (I wanted a chunky sauce so cut my pieces bigger - my vegetables took about 10 minutes to cook.) Add the tomato paste to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms and cook another minute, stirring often. Add in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Let the liquid reduce for 2 to three minutes. Add the thyme leaves and stir in the remaining chicken broth and bring to a low boil.
- Return the chicken breasts along with any juices into the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Using tongs, transfer chicken to warmed serving plates. You can give big eaters two pieces of chicken, those with small tummies will be happy with one.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth and fully melted (leave butter out for Dairy-Free). Spoon some of the sauce and vegetables over each piece of chicken. Serve immediately.
- Yield: 3 to 6 servings
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