Mel's Munchies: This dish is balsamic bliss
Credit: Melanie Anderson
Chicken breasts simmer in a delicious garlic balsamic sauce surrounded by mushrooms.
The recipe calls for four skinless, boneless chicken breasts, but if you like extra sauce (for mashed potatoes or pasta) or are only cooking for two, a pair of chicken breasts works just fine.
If you're a regular in the kitchen, you will probably have most of the ingredients needed to create this masterpiece. You'll need mushrooms, all-purpose flour, butter, olive oil, one garlic bulb, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, thyme, and one bay leaf.
The trick with this recipe is to have everything ready before you start cooking. Wash your button mushrooms (3/4 pound), pat them dry, slice 'em up and set them aside. Take six cloves of garlic, peel them and set aside. I usually measure out 3/4 cup of chicken broth into a measuring cup, and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in another measuring cup.
Now that you've done some prep work, it's time to get cooking.
Start by rinsing your chicken breasts and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Grab a mediumsized bowl and mix together two tablespoons of flour with some more salt and pepper. Take your chicken breasts and smother them in the mixture.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and sauté the chicken until it browns on one side — this only takes about three or four minutes. Add your peeled garlic cloves to the pan. Now it's time to flip your chicken breasts (try using tongs) and scatter your mushrooms over them.
Continue shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about three minutes.
Now add your vinegar, chicken broth, bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Cover the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Voilà! Your chicken is done. Place the chicken breasts on a plate or serving dish and cover with foil to keep them warm.
Remove the lid, and continue simmering the sauce over mediumhigh heat for seven minutes. Add a tablespoon of butter to the mix and stir.
Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about seven minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Place chicken on plates and pour the mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.
As I mentioned before, great sides include mashed potatoes and pasta, as they taste delicious smothered in the sauce as well. For a side vegetable, try asparagus or carrots to complement your chicken.
Check out the recipe at tinyurl.com/balsamic2.
If you have a restaurant or recipe suggestion for Mel's Munchies, email her at email@example.com.