The wind has been howling outside my windows and the leaves are golden, which means it's time for comfort food in the kitchen. This recipe is one that requires little prep work and finishes cooking in the oven, which gives you lots of time to set the table and toss a salad. Ladle the rich sauce and hunks of chicken over buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or even rice if you wish. The leftovers are fantastic the next day...if there are any!
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups small whole mushroom, halved
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp herbes de provence
3 oz black forest ham, cut into thin strips or 5 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Measure out the flour, salt, and pepper into a pie plate or a plate with a rim. Set aside. Get a large fry pan going over medium heat with the oil and butter in it. When the butter is melted and bubbling a bit, dip the chicken breasts in the flour until they are well coated, then set them in the butter/oil mixture. Fry up the chicken on both sides until they are browned, then remove to an 8 cup casserole dish.
Turn down the heat and in the same pan, saute the onions until they are softened. You may need to add a little more oil. Stir in the garlic, and continue to cook but watch carefully so it doesn't burn or get browned, which will make your dish bitter. After about a minute, sprinkle over the remaining flour from when you dredged your chicken, and give that a stir, as well. Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring it to bring up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then throw in your mushrooms, tomato paste, and herbs. Let it bubble a bit, then dump the whole works over the chicken breasts sitting in the casserole dish.
Pop a lid on the casserole dish and set it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the lid and sprinkle the ham or bacon over top, then return the dish, uncovered, for about another 5 minutes.
To serve, you can either spoon the mixture over top of buttered noodles or mashed potatoes. Either way, it's great comfort food on a cold day.
Adapted from The Easy Gourmet