Sunday, May 25, 2008

RECIPE: Chicken with Mushroom Sauce (reject)

So far, Project: Dinner has not met with much success. Or maybe it has, because every slow-cooker recipe I've made so far has sucked. Get it? Suck-cess? Sucked? Hahaha hahahaha....


Anyway, this recipe came from the March/April 2000 issue of Quick Cooking magazine and was so bad, I was tempted to write a strongly worded letter to the editors, castigating them soundly for allowing this hot mess out of their test kitchens and onto the pages of their magazine, where innocent, hungry people like me and my family might decide to make it, eat it, and then sit around uneasily for the remainder of the evening, trying not to bring it right back up again.

It gained points because it was easy.

But immediately lost them plus some because it all just didn't taste good.

I served Chicken and Mushroom Sauce with whole wheat couscous and peas, both of which were good and ended up being the majority of our (starchy) meal.

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 T butter, melted
2 T dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup white white or chicken broth
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

This was very easy. I put the thawed chicken breast in the slow-cooker, brushed it with the melted butter and then sprinkled it with the parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper. The sliced mushrooms went over that; I added the half-cup of white wine from the bottle of Oliver's soft white I keep in the fridge (Oliver's Winery is in Bloomington, Indiana and it is a super-fun place to stop for a little smackerel of vino: I like to support the home team.) After that, all that was left to do was cook it for five or six hours.

When we walked in the door, I started the frozen peas in the microwave with a little butter, sea salt and a couple of tablespoons of water; I had the water, olive oil and salt already in a little saucepan to start heating to a boil for the couscous. While the peas and the couscous did their thang, I removed the liquid from the slow-cooker and made the sauce with the cornstarch and water.

This meal actually looked very nice, in my opinion. The chicken breast presented itself well with the herbs sprinkled on top, plus there was that nice little wine sauce to drizzle across it and onto the couscous, which, being the whole wheat variety, was a darker brown than the chicken. The peas were a nice bright green and sparkled like little emerals on the plate. I would have liked to see a nice piece of bread (from the bread machine, natch) or a dinner roll on the side, but it never entered my head.

The taste, however, was something yet again. We eat roast beef in wine sauce fairly frequently during the cold months and that gets yum-yummed right down in a jiffy. I can't imagine what would be so different about the wine sauce served with this chicken. I don't think it was the wine's fault, because I poured myself a little glass while I was stirring the couscous and peas together and it tasted fine. I've had other chicken dishes in wine sauce and they didn't make me want to gag. So I'm just not sure where this went wrong.

I just know that NO ONE that sat around the table that night will ever willingly eat it again.

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