A dinner idea from Food Network chef Michael Smith. "This is a classic group of flavours that any cook coming up the ranks in a French-inspired kitchen will learn. I never tire of the hearty flavour of thyme-scented roast chicken with earthy mushrooms and aromatic red wine."
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Mushroom Red Wine Sauce
2 tbsp butter
8 oz. thinly sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup of your favourite dry red wine
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch*
2 tbsp or so of chopped fresh parsley
* Cornstarch thickens hot liquids quickly, but if it continues to simmer it will lose strength over time. The molecular bonds that it initially forms to thicken the sauce will fracture and break, leaving the sauce watery. The key is to add the cornstarch just before serving, then take it off the heat.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Step 2: Pat the chicken breasts dry with folded paper towel. Toss them into a bowl and splash in the oil. Toss until evenly coated, then evenly sprinkle on the thyme. Lightly season to your taste with salt and pepper. Arrange in a baking dish and bake until cooked through but still juicy, about 25 minutes. The chicken is perfectly cooked when a meat thermometer inserted in its thickest part reads 165°F.
Step 3: Meanwhile, create the sauce. In your favourite sauté pan or frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it sizzles and lightly browns. Toss in the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and deliciously caramelized, 15 minutes or so. Pour in the broth and the wine and bring to a rapid simmer for a few minutes. Whisk together the water and cornstarch, then pour the slurry into the sauce, stirring gently until the sauce is evenly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken and share!
See more recipes from Michael Smith.
Reprinted with permission from Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen (2011 Penguin Canada).