Thanks to the fine people over at Dell Canada for the (relatively) free meal tonight. Part of their marketing since COVID has been to do various “join in at home!” type things and this time around it’s a cooking class. They send you everything you need (well, almost in my case) and you follow along with some semi-famous chef. I’m sure there’s a lot of product placement and hyping of their latest technologies along the way, but I really don’t know.
The problem is, this thing is tomorrow night and I’ve got other more pressing commitments. So, I decided to make it tonight. The thing is, the recipe card they sent was horrific. It didn’t list amounts, and the method was horribly basic. I improvised a tad. Here’s what I came up with.
It’s an easy dish that anyone should be able to make with relatively little equipment, although I’ll suggest a cast iron skillet will be massive help over your usual frying pan. Seriously. Go get a cast iron skillet. If you take care of it (hell, even if you don’t), it’ll last forever. Or, better yet – see if your grandparents will leave you theirs in the will. It’s the second best gift a person can get from Grandma besides a lot of love & encouragement in the form of rock candy.
I’d already eaten tonight and figured I’d prep this for my lunch and dinner tomorrow, but seeing as I usually don’t have a ton of time (nor motivation) around 1 in the afternoon while working, I got to work tonight.
So, let’s do this, ya?
Chicken In Mushroom Cream with Brussel Sprouts & Parsnips
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 8 Brussel Sprouts
- 1 cup Mushrooms
- 1 Parsnip
- 1 Shallot (Large) or 2 small
- 1 cup butter
- 500 ml Heavy Cream
- 1 bunch Thyme
- 1 bunch Chives
- 1 bunch Tarragon
Let's Get Started
Bring your chicken out of the fridge and let rest to room temperature. Season both sides with salt & pepper then set aside.
Cut your brussel sprouts lengthwise from the stem to the head. Roll in a bowl in some olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Add in about a tablespoon of paprika (ideally smoked), and if you're feeling a bit adventurous, a light sprinkle of chili powder.
Cut your parsnip lengthwise and then cut into thin half moons. You're looking for about 1-2mm thick slices. Not paper thin, but thin. Nothing too thick, we're looking to get these crispy like little parsnip chips when we roast them.
Mince up 3 cloves of garlic and set aside. Peel an additional 3-4 cloves and lightly crush. Set those aside, too. Finely dice all of your shallots and set aside for later.
Roughly chop about 3tbsp of tarragon, 2tbsp of chives, and 1tbsp of thyme leaves. Set these aside.
Start With The Sprouts, Then Your Chicken
Get a cast iron skillet ripping hot and toss your sprouts in face side down to sear. You're looking for some good colour on them. One you've got some good char on the bottoms, roll them around to get a bit of colour on the rest of the sprouts. Add a knob of butter if needed, but keep your pan as hot as possible.
Toss your parsnips, sprouts & the crushed (not minced) garlic into a small baking pan, toss in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, mix around to coat everything, then add a few sprigs of thyme. Into the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. While cooking, be sure to pull them out and toss every 7-10 minutes to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom and things get an even cook.
Take your cast iron skillet and add a liberal knob of butter. Get this going nice and hot, then lay your chicken breasts into the butter on high heat for about 2 minutes / side. Once you've got a nice brown on each side, turn the heat down to medium and cover with a pot lid, being sure to baste your chicken every couple minutes to keep it moist.
Once your sprouts & parsnips have been cooking for 20 minutes, turn on your broiler to high, give it all another good mix, and slide back under the broiler for 10-15 mins checking occasionally. You're looking for some nice brown edges on the parsnips and your sprouts to really cook through.
Your chicken should be in the skillet for about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts. You'll want to reach an internal temperature of 160 (by code), but I like to pull them off just a tad before, maybe 150-155. Let these rest on a cutting board covered.
Now For Your Mushrooms
Back to your skillet, you'll want another liberal knob of butter fully melted, then toss in your mushrooms. If you're using button mushrooms (or white/brown) and they're not super small, you'll want to quarter them. Toss these in a pan along with your shallots on medium-high heat.
Keep cooking your mushrooms (no lid) occasionally stirring until they absorb most of the butter and are nice and soft. If you're running out of butter before they're soft, toss in a tablespoon at a time as needed.
Once your shallots have more or less disappeared and your mushrooms are ready, add about 350-400ml of heavy cream (35%) to your skillet and bring the heat down to medium-low. Add in all your chopped herbs and continue stirring to slowly reduce the cream.
Your sprouts & parsnips should be basically done at this point. If they were done a tad early, just keep them in the oven with the heat turned off. The residual heat will keep everything nice and warm for the next few minutes while we finish up.
Putting It All Together
As the cream reduces and thickens, add your chicken back into the pan, and add a touch more of your herbs as you see fit. Continue stirring on medium heat as to keep a good temperature, but you don't want your cream sauce to be bubbling too much. Keep it at a nice simmer for about 3-4 minutes.
Begin plating your dish. You'll want the chicken down first, then spoon over your mushrooms & cream sauce. Add your sprouts & parsnips as you see fit, and microplane some lemon zest. If you're feeling it, a touch more of fresh herbs ontop, and you're set!