A Portuguese Sonnet

Sunday, February 2, 2014

One of the ways to survive a long, cold winter is to imagine yourself in a warmer place. And if I can't actually be there, perhaps the taste and aroma of food from a more temperate climate can take me there.

It must have been with that in mind that I picked up a Portuguese cookbook this week. Every single recipe sounded delicious, from the Green Onion mini-omelettes to the Corn Bread to the enchantingly-titled Cream From Heaven. But in the end, the recipe I had to make was Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Cream Port Sauce.

As I had hoped, this recipe took me to a country I've never visited but often imagined. To Lisbon's medieval Castelo Sao Jorge, a Moorish castle whose oldest sections date back to the sixth century. To Sintra's fairy-tale estate, the Quinta da Regaleira and its gardens. To Evora, with its noble Roman Temple and gothic Cathedral. All under a blue sky and an ebullient sun.

Just imagine the inspiration I'll get when I make Cream From Heaven.

Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Cream Port Sauce

Note: my favourite part of this recipe was the garlic, salt and thyme mixture that's rubbed on the chicken and under the skin. Next time I'll double the amount and use it all.

2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, skin on and bones in (about 4)
2 cloves garlic, minced (first amount)
1 tsp kosher salt
6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped and thick stems discarded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp olive oil (first amount)
2 Tbsp butter (first amount)
1 Tbsp olive oil (second amount)
1 Tbsp butter (second amount)
2 cloves garlic, minced (second amount)
1 pound mushrooms (such as oyster, shiitake and Portobello caps), thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp port or brandy
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp whipping cream
Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste

Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the garlic, salt and thyme and rub into the skin, tucking some under the skin. Refrigerate for 4 hours or, if time allows, overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Discard the remaining flour.

In a heavy, large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter until the butter has melted. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Reserve pan juices.

Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet or ovenproof pan and bake for 13 to 15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink inside. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.

Drain and discard all but 1 Tbsp of the pan juices from the skillet. Add 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter and heat over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden and softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Simmer until the wine sauce is reduced by one-third and clings to the mushrooms.

In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, port and mustard, and whisk to combine. Pour over the mushrooms and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by one-third. Add the cream, whisk to combine, and cook for 1 minute or until the sauce is well blended and heated through.

Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve chicken with the mushroom port sauce.


Jemi Fraser said...

My stomach is rumbling after reading this one!! Yummy from start to finish - if my crew wasn't in the midst of making Superbowl food I'd be tackling this!

Valerie Gamine said...

A perfect dish to drive the cold winter away (far, far away, please!). I can't wait to see where cream from heaven will take you! :D

Anonymous said...

What a great dish for this post!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I've spent about an hour in Portugal -- in an airplane, which was making a stop in Lisbon on a flight from Casablanca to JFK. Loved the red tile roofs! And I'd dearly like to actually visit someday. In the meantime, maybe I should make this dish! Truly lovely -- thanks.

Unknown said...

Lovely dish! It's great to mix in some Summer flavors...with the snow...:) ela

Barbara said...

We loved Portugal! Would love to go back.
Delicious recipe, Beth. Love the port, cream and shiitake mixture!

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds great. And I'm wondering if we'll have new travel pictures about Portugal one of these days.

Anonymous said...

Saute mushrooms in a port cream sauce sounds dreamy! Sending some warm thoughts and breezes your way from Hong Kong. Take Care, BAM

Beth said...

Thanks for the warm thoughts, Bam - wish I was there to enjoy them in person!

And Natalie, I have to admit your idea sounds ideal.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

This sounds delicious. I've never been to Portugal but certainly want to visit some day!

Angie's Recipes said...

This looks very delicious, Beth. Mushrooms prepared with the port wine sauce sounds amazing.

Crystal Collier said...

Mmm.... Well it's February now in Florida. The sun is out, and it's time to thaw. February=the best time of the year. =)

vanillasugarblog said...

the cream sauce reminds me so much of julia childs.
oh how I used to love watching her as a kid (and adult) make those instant buttery, liquored up cream sauces.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I have everything except the mushrooms...so I hope to try this scrumptious recipe soon. I can't imagine how cold you are up north as it's absolutely miserable in Indiana!!! Keep imagining; keep warm!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, just yesterday I talked to one of my friends about Portugese food - this is a small world....the recipe that you decided to prepare looks fabulous and exactly like the kind of food we enjoy even more when the weather is wintry and cold!
Take care and stay warm!

Unknown said...

I would love to try this minus the wine as we do not intake alcohol. Sounds delicious.

Stay warm.

Juliana said...

Sounds delicious this combination...like the way to prepared the chicken and the mushroom...yum!
Have a great week Beth :D

Katerina said...

I can see exactly what you mean Beth! The chicken and the mushrooms look absolutely divine! I want for summer to come fast, I am so sick of winter!

Joanne said...

Warmer weather and the food that goes with it sounds so nice! This definitely looks like a comfort food meal to me.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Seeing pictures like this make me wish I like to cook ;)

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Ooh, what a lovely, savory meal! I love the idea of imagining a warm, enchanting place when we're stuck in the cold. Just reading this post warmed me up for a minute! =)

grace said...

mushrooms aren't necessarily my go-to source of comfort, but i do like the sound of this cream from heaven!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

This looks like a great twist on chicken!

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