This is a dilemma in my house; myself and my daughter love the leg and thigh of chicken, while my son and husband prefer the breast meat! It is not really a problem when you roast a whole bird, but when you want to make anything else it can turn into a problem.
One could argue that whatever I serve up for dinner should be eaten with very grateful hearts, and I have certainly gone down this road many times, but other times, when I’m feeling particularly generous, I what to give whomever I am cooking for exactly what they crave.
This is a fantastic solution and takes no more time than if you made one dish! The idea came to mind when I happen to be cleaning my kitchen and I saw my two identical baking dishes buried under some other pans. They screamed “USE ME!” and so I did, placing chicken thighs in one and chicken breast in the other, thereby satisfying us all without having to fish out the various parts for each plate.
This is a recipe you have to try if you are in the mood for true comfort food.
You will need:
4 tbs olive oil or safflower oil
3 med/lrg chicken breast fillets
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms – diced (white or cremini will work equally)
2 medium onions – diced
4 garlic cloves – peeled and finely chopped
fresh thyme springs (if large use two, if very small use four)
freshly ground pepper
good quality salt (I used Celtic sea salt and Maldon salt to finish)
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs all-purpose four
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water and 2 good quality bouillon cubes – I recommend Rapunzel brand)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups peas (this is optional and also if you don’t plan on making some greens to go with this – Frozen peas work great)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
several grinds black pepper
1 cup strong cheddar cheese – grated (optional)
8 tbs cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
* you will need two dishes – glass baking dish, cast iron, enamel shallow casserole or your favorite pan you use for the oven*
Preheat oven 425*
1 – Season the chicken with some pepper and salt. Put a saute pan on high heat and when it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Sear the chicken on both sides until browned. Do this in batches (in other words: don’t crown the pan or your chicken will steam and not crisp up!). Add more oil as needed. As you finish the chicken place the thighs in the bottom of one baking dish and the chicken in another. *When the chicken breast is cool enough to handle, slice into thick pieces and place back into the dish*
2 – Turn heat down to medium/low and add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the diced mushrooms. Turn heat up and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and butter and continue to cook until the mushrooms are nice and soft (about 8 more minutes).
3 – Add the flour and sir into the mushroom mixture and cook for about 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth one cup at a time stirring continuously. The mixture will start to thicken and get hot. Add the cream and stir. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and creamy. Taste for addition of salt and pepper and add according to your taste. *Add peas at this time if using*
4 – Pour equal amounts of the sauce over each dish and place in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.
5 – While chicken is cooking make the topping. Put flour along with the other dry ingredients into a big bowl and stir everything together with a whisk. Cut the butter into the flour and knead the butter into the flour until you have a fine rubble. Add the cheese (if using) and toss it in with your hands. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon (work from the outside scraping into the center). Add more milk if there are still dry pockets of flour. The mixture should feel slightly sticky. Set aside until ready to use.
6 – After 20 minutes, take chicken out of the oven and dot the dough over each in irregular mounds. Do this with your hands (it’s the easiest way) Place back into the oven for another 15 minutes or until the crust in a nice golden brown.
Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve as is or with veggies: boiled carrots and peas, sautéed spinach or other hearty green OR a big green salad!