Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just Chicken and Mushrooms

This chicken and mushrooms recipe video is an experiment in extreme self-control. I wanted to challenge myself to make a chicken and mushrooms recipe using only chicken and mushrooms. By the way, if it was still Fat Tuesday, I would have totally called this recipe, "Almost Naked Breasts," but on Ash Wednesday, that just doesn't seem appropriate.

While chefs are always preaching about keeping things uncomplicated, and letting the natural goodness of the main ingredients shine though, we rarely follow our own advice. There are so many ways to flavor and enhance breasts like these that it's easy to forget simplicity and instead start, "layering the flavors."

As I mention in the video, while this may seem like it was intended as a lesson for novice cooks, it's actually dedicated to the advanced cook who may have forgotten just how wonderful a two-ingredient recipe can be.

Now, before the more anal among you start sending in the, "there are actually five ingredients" comments and emails, I'll tell you right now, I'm not counting salt and black pepper as ingredients, nor am I including the fats. Hey, I have to sear that skin in something.

Anyway, the real point is to get you to try and see how much flavor you can coax out of these two main players by simply using great technique, and the right equipment. Of course, that's easier said than done, and the vast majority of you will be unable to resist the minced garlic and the cayenne shaker. Either way, enjoy!

Speaking of the right equipment, that stainless-steel skillet you'll see in the video is my lovely new All-Clad 12-inch aluminum core frying pan. We're going to be doing some work together, and this recipe was the first real test run. I've used their stuff countless times in pro kitchens, but I've never the pleasure of working with it in my home kitchen until now. It was perfect for this recipe's required techniques.



Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skin-on
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz thickly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yo chef john! Long time lover of the blog :)

Anyway for everyone else, I do this exact same thing quite often except I use creme fraiche instead of water.

I serve it with minted new potatoes + french beans, it goes down a treat. And because it's so easy to cook you can get a head start on the white wine :)


enjoy!

BrooklynHeart said...

I am not feeling well today, and was just thinking, "Gee... I want some mushrooms." Then what do I see on your blog?

That looked gorgeous, I can't wait to try it (both your way and my way!)... but I need to be well enough to go to the store first!

Asian Malaysian said...

Do you really stick a thermometer in your breasts or do you guesstimate?

rancholyn said...

Yummy!!! I can't wait to try this recipe...Chicken is my favorite and I love MUSHROOMS!!!!

Kath said...

I love your simple 2-ingredient way with this chicken and mushrooms recipe, John! It looks incredible! Thanks for getting back to basics with this one.

Chef John said...

Both!

Elton Carvalho said...

Great job, Chef John, love your videos!

Newbie question: Are those shrooms raw or pre-cooked?

Psyrixx said...

Would you say this method is also the best way to cook plain Jane sirloin steaks? Watching recipes from Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and others, they just pan sear and say "leave it for x minutes for medium or medium well and ONLY FLIP IT ONCE!!!"

After several burned-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside steaks, I don't believe their method is possible. I've started preheating my oven to 375 and tossing the steaks in for 20-25 minutes after browning the outside.

Care to repeat this experiment with steak?

Chef John said...

Fresh slice shrooms. Thanks!

Chef John said...

No need! :-) We've done plenty of pan seared steaks, check them out! Like the minute steak, etc.

genelle said...

Can't make this now :( Will definitely try it after Good Friday :)

Jason said...

Chef John,

I like the idea of keeping things simple in the kitchen as an exercise in palette building. I'm always amazed watching episodes of Top Chef where the contestants blind taste ingredients but miss the simplest products.

A few variations for us home-gamers (I totally answered "fond" by the way): it appears you used button mushrooms but, a nice experiment would be varying the mushrooms to understand their flavor. Also, try a chicken thigh instead of the breast. When the dish has a limited number of components these changes are more noticeable.

Best,
Jason

Ed Charbeneau said...

Makes me want Chicken Marsala. Great, now it's 10AM and I want lunch.

Anonymous said...

Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill.
Most Italians weren’t familiar with the many regional variations their fragmented homeland had produced, but a longing for pan-Italian unity inspired a widespread embrace of a simplified pizza as their "national" dish.

Steven K. said...

I only had boneless, skinless breasts and I can tell you that this also turns out great without the skin. You just need to use a slightly lower temperature and cook the breasts to a light, golden color to prevent that stringy crust from forming.

If you wanted to add a bit of minced garlic with the mushrooms and finish with a splash of marsala and chicken stock, this would probably make for a nice, light version of chicken marsala.

Out of curiosity, how many times do people usually burn their hands before they remember not to shake the pan around while making the sauce after taking the pan straight from the oven?

Livia said...

This looks delicious.
I just got a cast iron skillet, exactly to have a pan that I can use on the stovetop as well as in the oven. It's not enameled, though.
Since I'm not experienced with using it, do you foresee any problems with using a seasoned cast iron pan in place of the stainless steel one?

Thanks! I will most definitely make this (if my pan can do the job).

Chef John said...

cast iron would work great!

Mushrooms Canada said...

Perfect, perfect perfect!! Do you really need anything more than chicken and mushrooms?
- Brittany

tricia72 said...

A perfect dish to go with rice... Will cook it for dinner tonight..

Anonymous said...

Chicken with skin and pans without nonstick - it's a food revolution! A coup from the coop! Bravo!

Jim

Chris K. said...

My new copy of "Modernist Cuisine" arrived today at the low low price of $462.30 (free shipping!) and there's a version of this EXACT recipe.

Only difference is the chicken and mushrooms are cooked sous vide for 48 hours at 30C, then flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, zapped in a Paco-Jet, then gelatinized in a sodium alginate solution.

OK, so the end product isn't really similar, but the photography is BEAUTIFUL.

Chef John said...

i ordered mine today!

James said...

Only had thighs, could not resist subbing my homemade chicken stock for the water. So easy and what a surprise. Very, very good.

Anonymous said...

I prefer enhanced breasts (and it's not Ash Wednesday). This recipe is diabetic friendly, and on the menu for Saturday dinner. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight. It came out tasting great although I had chopped up my own whole chicken and the skin didn't quite survive although I used the breasts and thighs. What skin did survive didn't get quite as brown as what you show. I'll try again later with some store bought breasts.

Anonymous said...

hi chef john, what should i do if i do not have an oven to pop the pan into?

Chef John said...

Just cover and cook in low until done.

Anonymous said...

Hi chef John!

I used the low budget skinless chicken breasts that you buy from the freezer in the super market when I made this recipe. It was really good too, and I think I'll do it again!

But I'll make sure to find some fresh chicken breasts with skin on them and do it that way also. (And I wish I could learn how to hold back on the salt. I always over do it with the salt!!!)

Thanks for this one,

Peter from Sweden.

MonikaNatalia S. said...

Love chicken, love mushroom, love simple cooking .. this is the perfect recipe for me. Can't wait to try!

Aaron said...

Looks like a fantastic dish..

No/Low/Slow carb friendly as well!

Gonna use thigh tho, never liked breast

Aaron said...

Forgot to ask a question:

I don't have a proper oven at home (just a toaster oven). What sort of adjustments do I make if I wanna finish it on a pan?

Anonymous said...

CHef John is right it is sooo delicious... I have made it over and over and i just love it... So much flavor to it and just tastes havetly...

TL said...

Chef John, we've made many of your recipes, all are amazing... but this is probably one of my new favorite recipes offering such incredible flavor, and it's so easy to make. Thank you for sharing your techniques with us!

Anonymous said...

Made this in a cast iron skillet. Totally rocked!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great receipt.

Jenna said...

Made this last night, served it over buttered egg noodles with wilted arugula. It was so delicious and hubby surprised so few ingredients. :)

Farida said...

I just talk to you, this recipe is very interesting and i want to make it soon, i love chicken and also mushrooms. Thanks for share

farida
http://kitchensuperfood.com/2011/08/chicken-mushroom/

corrwill said...

I had mushrooms and chicken and I looked up a recipe online and found yours. I made it and I LOVE. :) I will make it this way again for sure. Thanks so much.

Blue Arc said...

This was the first recipe I tried when I found this site. Dropped a mint on a stainless skillet and discovered...fond. I'm looking into getting a personalized license plate the says "Pan Sauce" now. Thanks Chef!

Stephan Hoppe said...

Hi:
I followed your video recipe with the precision of a chemical engineer (I mean - exactly) and it turned out great! Definitely a keeper - thanks!

Sharon said...

This recipe sounds great. Is there a way to get a printable copy?

Chef John said...

not yet, but I hear Allrecipes is working on them.

Anonymous said...

I only have Calphalon's non-stick saute pans and skillets. However, I do believe they can go in the oven. Would that type of pan still work with this recipe?

Anonymous said...

I am thinking about making some side spaghetti for the dish, any suggestion? white sauce or Red sauce is better to match this "Just chicken and mushroom" dish? I will make tonight.
By the way,I love your site, I watch EVERYDAY and try one recipe a day, so much fun and i am spreading the words to many of my love-to-cook friends!!! thanks John.

Chef John said...

I would think white sauce would be a better match, but both are good!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Could you suggest any substitutions for the mushrooms? My family has food allergies.

Thanks so much.

Chef John said...

sorry, but mushrooms are such a unique ingredient, there are no substitutions. You may want to try another recipe than this one, as they are the key.

Tann's girl said...

Fixed this for dinner tonight. My husband said "not mushrooms again" (he doesn't care too much for them and we'd just had them 2 nights ago). After serving it to him, he said it was the best chicken he's ever eaten (he kept making these ummmmm sounds while eating!). It was so moist and tender. Will definitely add to my favorites. Thanks, Chef John (love your videos)

Tann's girl said...

In answer to the question "I only have Calphalon's non-stick saute pans and skillets. However, I do believe they can go in the oven. Would that type of pan still work with this recipe?"
Yes, I cooked it tonight in my Calphalon Commercial Saute pan and it came out great!!! My husband gave it 5 stars (and he doesn't like mushrooms!!).

Chef John said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John!
I love watching you (you sly dog, you) You really make me laugh as well as prompt me to make things I've all but forgotten that I have made. I've just recently found my iron skillets which had been consigned to the garage when I bought my stainless steel set a couple years ago. There was some rust so I Googled 'cleaning cast iron' and lo and behold...I have brought them back from 'rust buckets' to wonderful pans again. Now if I could just figure out how to make them lighter...Yvonne

Anonymous said...

This was a heavenly dish. We loved it. Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I made the "Just chicken and Mushrooms"! Unbelievably good! Better than good! And so easy! Thank yu for this lovely recipe!

Anonymous said...

thanks for teaching me how to make this minimalist, and supremely tasty dish. i used mini portabellos and it came out perfect.

for those worried about the chicken skin calories, I think the taste is worth more than 15 minutes of exercise? A brisk walk around the block maybe?

Sembazuru said...

I made this over the weekend, and so yummy and simple. I saw that you used champion mushrooms, so I followed suit with my first attempt. Both my wife and I thought that the mushrooms almost tasted like portabellas when done. I'm thinking of trying this with shitakes next. I live in Kennett Square, PA: Mushroom Capital of the World (just Google it...) so I have plenty of really fresh mushrooms to play with.

My only comment on the recipe is it seems that the written amount of oil (2 Tbsp) seemed to be excessive. I had quite a layer of oil in the pan when finishing the sauce that I didn't see in your video. Should that be 2 tsp, or 1 Tbsp?

Thanx for yet another really yummy recipe.

Elaine Livingston said...

All I could find was boneless skinless chicken so I bought 2 chicken breasts with the bone and de-boned them myself. The first one went ok, the 2nd one, well...could you do a video on de-boning a RAW chicken breast? I know you've done cutting up a whole chicken. Thank you.

Elaine Livingston said...

Just finished eating this and said OMG 18 times.....

Anonymous said...

The first time I made this, I didn't need to add water. I don't know if it was a different type of mushroom, or because I threw in an extra breast, but there was plenty of water in the pan when I pulled it out. So, down one ingredient and it was still incredibly flavorful. I threw it over plain rice (to avoid muddying the flavor any more than I had to), and my whole family loved it!

Tonight, I'm making it again with some stock, onion, and garlic. Such is the fate of an easily customizable recipe. But, again, the original was fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Going to try this today with no oven, just replacing the baking step with covering the pan and reducing to low. Wish me luck!!!

Your are an asset to humanity Chef John!!!

Rida said...

Hello Chef John

what is i wish to add potatoes, or vegetables with the mushroom, how do i do that? what is needed?

PS love your blog, amazing

Cheers
Rida

Kat said...

Hi, Chef John. I stumbled upon your blog while searching for the simplest recipe for chicken. I just put the chicken and mushroom in the oven as I write this. I hope I get it right. I'll browse through your website later. I'm looking forward to more simple recipes (which are perfect for amateurs like me). =)

Joan Barbier said...

I made this dish last night - yummy, yummy, yummy!

I only had skinless chicken breasts so I threw in a couple strips of bacon which I had cut into small pieces. It actually went really well and gave the dish a slightly smokey taste.

I love your recipes. Please keep them coming. Thank you so much.

Julia Al Arab said...

It looks amazingly delicious!

Rebecca G said...

I made this and I was skeptical at first bc of the water...but it is so good. The skin is so flavourful. Only wish would be to have more sauce. How can I double up the amount of sauce?

Barbara said...

I've made this before and it was amazing, I just did a search for the video 'cuz I have some shrooms in the fridge and a couple of skin-on chicken breasts, so this is dinner tonight! After trying this one I'll be checking the blog frequently. Thanks!

Aulia Alyda said...

Which butter work best? unsalted or the salted one? thanks.

Chef John said...

I only use unsalted butter here. Enjoy!

John Kerr said...

Chef John, your entertaining videos convinced me to try to learn to cook. This was my first real recipe attempt and it was tasty, but I think I overcooked it, especially the mushrooms, even with cutting short the second saute step. I used an iron frying pan instead of stainless steel, would that make a difference? More likely, it was my oven or stove being too hot. The stove doesn't have 'medium' or 'high' designations, do you have any tips to judge temperatures?

Yuleisi Silverio said...

Hello Chef John, I just came along your recipes and I absolutely fell in love with them! I just had one quick question for this one ( making it for family dinner next weekend) and mjust wanted to know if instead of water, can I use chicken broth ?

Chef John said...

Yes, of course! I was only making a point. Thanks!

tu dickinson said...

Hi Chef John
I tried this recipe today & omg it was tasty I love the natural favor of the chicken & mushroom without any sauce! I didn't have the chicken with the skin on so I just use boneless chicken breast without the skin, I butter it up before I fried it so kinda get a really close Golden look like yours lol
Thank you so much for all your amazing video recipe

Sue G said...

this really does look too simple not to try! And delicious too! I'm going to have my 13 yr old daughter make this for dinner tonight. She loves mushrooms! Thanks!

DeanO said...

This will taste great next to the Butternut Squash Marscapone Gnocci tonight for dinner! I will deglaze with white wine though, just can't help myself.

John said...

Followed your instructions, Awesome, thank you Chef John