Friday, October 16, 2009
My Venture into Mushroom Gravy
Let me first start by saying, I LOVE THIS RECIPE! Millie, who is a friend of a friend and one of my loyal blog readers, gave me her recipe for Breaded Chicken Breasts. I really enjoy getting recipes from other people – ESPECIALLY when they are written by hand. There's something about getting a handwritten recipe that makes it more personal. Think about your own recipe box. You probably have handwritten recipes from your mother, grandmother, favorite aunts, and good friends. When you flip through your recipes, you can't help but think of that person every time you see their handwriting. If that person has already passed away, a handwritten recipe is a tangible connection to that person and a great reminder of the wonderful times you spent together.
Anybody who has given me a recipe knows that, the first thing I like to do, is think of a way to change it! My mother knows that all too well since I have changed MANY of her wonderful recipes. I don't enjoy cooking because chopping onions and slaving over a hot pot is fun. I like to cook because I like creating new recipes and reinventing old ones. Wouldn't it be fun to work in a Test Kitchen developing new recipes all day long? What a great job that would be!
When Millie gave me this recipe, the first thing I did was make it without any major changes. It was really good. Could her recipe be improved upon? Could it be made differently and be just as good? I wasn't sure but I was very excited to try. After a couple of attempts, I came up with a version I liked just as well as the original. When you have time, check out the original recipe for Millie's Breaded Chicken Breasts. Thank you Millie for taking the time to handwrite this wonderful recipe for me!
I made a few changes to Millie's recipe and am posting my version of Breaded Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Gravy. You can compare it to Millie's recipe to see what I have changed. The picture at the top of the page is from my version of her recipe. If you want, you can click on the picture and a larger image will open up. On the left side of the picture, do you see that little cheese waterfall running into the mushroom gravy? Oooooooh. I loved that! After I took pictures, that's the first place I dug in. These are SO good! It's a must-try recipe.
The next time you want to give one of your special recipes to somebody, take the time to handwrite it. It will be a cherished reminder of your great cooking skills for generations to come. Enjoy – and happy handwriting!
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Breaded Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Gravy
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 sleeve butter-flavored crackers (such as Townhouse or Ritz), crushed very finely
3 1/2 TBSP butter, divided use
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped into 1/4" pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water
pepper to taste
3/4 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (low-sodium)
6 pieces Provolone Cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Season the chicken on both sides with some seasoning salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Chop the onion. I put the mushrooms into a food processor and pulse them maybe 5 or 6 times to get them quickly cut up into small pieces. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Quickly add the onions and mushrooms. Stir to coat (do not salt). Cook the mushroom mixture for about 15 minutes or until they are starting to brown nicely – stirring every 5 minutes or so. After the mixture is browning nicely, add the garlic and cook one minute longer. Add the soy sauce, water, and a little pepper to the mixture and stir – making sure to get any brown bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Cook about 1 minute longer or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer HALF of the mushroom mixture, which will be used in making the gravy, to a medium-size bowl. Reserve the other half of the mushroom mixture for topping the chicken breasts. To the make the mushroom gravy, add the chicken broth, mushroom soup, and a little pepper to the sauted mushrooms in the bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Wipe out the skillet you used to saute the mushroom mixture. Turn the heat to medium and add two tablespoons of butter to the skillet. While the skillet is reheating and the butter is melting, dip each chicken breast in the beaten eggs and coat in the crushed crackers. Saute the chicken on both sides until the coating has nicely browned – about 3 minutes or so per side. Do not attempt to cook all of the way through since the chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
When browned on both sides, place the chicken breasts in an ungreased 9 x 13" glass baking dish. Top each breast with some of the reserved mushroom mixture that you had not used in making the gravy. Place two pieces of cheese on top of each chicken breast (folding each piece in half before placing them on top). Spoon the mushroom gravy around the sides of the chicken breasts. Don’t worry about trying to put the gravy on top of the cheese. It'll just slide off when the cheese melts. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the cheese has browned nicely, the mixture is hot and bubbly, and the chicken is cooked through. To serve, spoon some of the gravy on a plate and place a chicken breast on top of the gravy. Serve with some mashed potatoes.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 6:15 AM