Sunday, September 23, 2012

Braised Chicken Scallopini with Mushroom Wine Sauce and Spinach

I find it actually relaxing to make dinner after a long day at work and always like making two servings so I can freeze some for nights when I don't feel like heating up the stove. This recipe is super easy and inspired by a dish my mom used to make in the fall. The weather is still pretty warm here, but the lighting outside looks like fall and so I thought it would be nice to make a comforting dinner slowly cooked in the oven. This dish can be made in 30 minutes, but I find popping the covered braising pot in the oven on low heat (240 degrees) for an hour and a half really makes the flavors sing. Any sort of dutch oven or heavy lidded pan will work for this. We use a Le Creuset braising pan we picked up for 40% off at the outlets in San Marcos. It is just as good as the full priced one at Sur La Table! Worth the trip to the outlets in my opinion...

What's easy about this is you can just roughly chop the veggies as you want it kind of rustic. Makes 4 servings. And it's Gluten Free!!

- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts- sliced through in half (butterfiled) to make two thin scallops for a total of 8 scallops. Ask your butcher to do this if you want to save time of if your store carries "milanese" style cutlets, then get those.
- 2 shallots, diced or 1 medium onion chopped.
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed with side of knife and roughly chopped
- 10 cremini or baby bella mushrooms, washed, thoroughly dried and quartered.
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups beef stock (or chicken stock for a lighter colored sauce- but I suggest adding a bit of beef bouillon on Swansons beef flavor boost if you go the chicken stock route)
- 1 cup red wine (I used Sangiovese)
- 2 tbs dried oregano
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs paprika
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig dried bayleaf, 1 sprig fresh rosemary- or whatever fresh herbs you like!
- 1/4 cup corn starch for dredging
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs butter

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a pan on med-high until slightly shimmering. Season chicken cutlets with salt and fresh cracked pepper, dredge in corn flower, shaking off excess and place in the pan about 4 minutes each side until golden brown. You may have to do this in two batches so as to not crowd the pan and reserve the browned chicken on a plate.

Once chicken is browned, lower heat to medium, add butter, remaining oil, shallots, mushrooms and bay leaf, oregano, garlic powder and cook about 3 minutes until the shallots are softened. Add the wine and cook about 2 more minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the yummy brown bits then add the stock, turn up the heat to med hi- and simmer until reduced by half, about 4-5 minutes more. Add the chicken breasts, sprinkle with paprika, cover with herbs and place the lid on top. To make a quick meal, lower the heat to med-low, leave the lid slightly uncovered and cook another 20 minutes adding spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking, then serve with fresh chopped parsley and mashed potatoes or polenta.

 Here's what it looks like just before popping in the oven. I sprinkled paprika on top before covering.

For a slow simmer, place the covered braising pan in the oven at 240 degrees for an hour and a half. Remove from oven, discard herb twigs, stir in spinach and garnish with fresh thyme leaves and chopped parsley, bring the whole pan to the table to serve family style in warmed bowls. Crusty bread goes great to sop up the savory sauce. Serve with Gluten Free Penne or Mashed Potatoes. Leftovers freeze well for three months.

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