Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rachel Ray to the Rescue

Earlier this week I was reading The Hungry Dog.  She made a point that after all the Holiday fuss  what she really wants is a simple homemade meal.  I feel the same.  In this crazy week, between Christmas and New Year's Day, when life is moving so fast, I finally found the need for a 30 minute meal.  Not just a burger or a frozen Trader Joe's entree, but a flavorful comforting dish.  This recipe fits the bill. 

I never really enjoyed the whole Rachel Ray experience.  Don't get me wrong, I like Rachel Ray, she's cute, personable and always has a beautiful smile on her face.  But I always thought running around the kitchen grabbing ingredients and throwing a meal together to be akin to having a nightmare.  But the other night it seemed an appropriate moment to try a quick and easy recipe.  I decided to prepare Coq au Vin from the first Rachel Ray cookbook, 30 Minute Meals.  Of course I changed it a bit, but only a bit and the result was wonderful.  However it did take a bit longer than 30 minutes.  If you're really pressed for time, throw the carrot, celery and onion in a food processor. 

I served it over Acme Bread's Herb Slab.  I threw together a salad and the result was a quick and delicious meal.

2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup flour for dredging, on a plate

1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups good quality red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh thyme

Slices of baguette, buttered and toasted
handful of parsley, chopped

Cut breasts into large chunks and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet,  heat oil until hot. 
Dredge chicken pieces in flour, shake off excess and place in hot oil.
Do not crowd the pan, or the chicken will not brown. 
Saute until brown, and remove. 
Once all the chicken is brown add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and thyme, saute until soft. Add the mushrooms and saute until they release their juice. 
Add the red wine, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan. 
Add the chicken broth and stir in the tomato paste, bring to a boil.  
Add the chicken. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the broth has thickened. About 10 minutes. 

Serve over croutons, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

All photos are property of The Gypsy Chef