Almond-Garlic Crusted Chicken Breast with a Mushroom-Basil Cream Sauce

Okay, so since we're expanding what goes in this journal, I will share with you a recipe I made last night, which Facebook peeps were asking about. I made it up, and I don't remember the EXACT proportions of everything, but I will do my best!

I have never written down a recipe that required multiple things going on at once, so forgive me if this isn't as clear as it could be. In writing it, it sure sounds/looks more complex than it was. I mean, timing the three parts to it can be tricky, but since I was making it up as I went along, I just turned heats up/down as needed to speed up or slow down as I went along. I managed to do a load of dishes somewhere in here as well--not by choice, but a couple things I needed to cook with were in the sink mid-stream, so I unloaded and then loaded the dishwasher, then cleaned the things I needed and dried them. So if there was time to adjust for doing some dishes in the middle, it can't be that hard, right?! If you try this recipe, let me know what you think, and if you made any changes what they were and how they turned out!

Almond-Garlic Crusted Chicken Breast with a Mushroom-Basil Cream Sauce
2 servings

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 egg whites (or just 1 egg if you prefer)
Handful of almonds (maybe 15), chopped finely
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 oz mushrooms of your choice, cut to your desired size (I quartered fresh creminis)
1 tsp dried basil
Dash or two of garlic salt
2 servings of fettuccine (whatever you prefer for a side dish portion)
Grated parmesan to taste.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Place chicken breasts between saran wrap layers and pound to about a 1/2 inch thickness.

2. In a saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium-low heat.

3. Add garlic and mushrooms to pan and cook gently for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until garlic begins to brown slightly, and the mushrooms begin to soften, but do not brown mushrooms.

4. As mushrooms and garlic cook, mix together flour and almond bits and put in shallow bowl.

5. Dip chicken in egg whites, then dredge in almond/flour mixture, coating evenly as possible and gently shaking off excess.

6. Turn up the heat on the mushroom/garlic pan to medium-high, remove mushrooms and set aside in an uncovered bowl for later.

7. Place dredged chicken breasts into pan with liquid and garlic bits from cooking the mushrooms and cook each side about 2-3 minutes, until the coating stays put and the chicken exterior is lightly browned. You will smell the almonds beginning to brown, and that will be a good sign it is about done on that side.

8. Line a small broiler pan with foil and place the wire rack on top. Put chicken on the rack and in place center of oven with meat thermometer in thickest part of one of the breasts. Cook approx 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature is 180 degrees. This may go faster or slower, depending on how thin or thick your chicken breasts ended up being.

9. Put saucepan of water on stove and begin to bring to a boil for fettuccine

10. Turn heat down on saute pan to low/medium low and add cream, gently stirring it frequently to reduce it slowly as the chicken is cooking, mixing in any bits of garlic and almonds that are left from the chicken and mushrooms.

Add dried basil and garlic salt (and parmesan if desired - I like to add maybe 1/8 cup of finely grated parm for flavor) and continue to reduce. Do not let this get too hot/reduce too fast. It should just gently bubble in the center to have it reduce at a slow rate and be finished at the same time as the pasta and chicken. If it gets done too soon, just turn to warm and stir it occasionally to keep it ready until the rest is complete.

During the last few minutes of reducing the sauce, add the mushrooms back in to heat them through and boost sauce flavor once more. Keep warm until chicken and pasta is ready.

11. When water comes to a boil, drop in fettuccine and salt the water. Cook to desired doneness. Drain.

With tongs, make a nest of fettuccine in center of each plate. Place chicken breast on top, then pour mushroom sauce over the top. Sprinkle parm and a pinch more dried basil on top if you like. Serve immediately.

I should add that it was a hit for both me and hubby--two yums up!--and his only feedback was

a) he wanted the mushrooms cut smaller (he doesn't like em fat and juicy like I do), and

b) he wished I had lightly tossed the pasta in with the sauce before nesting it on the plate, so they were at least coated some before the chicken went on top and the sauce was poured over all.

Hope it y'all like it!

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On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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