Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Midweek Meals: Hearty Chicken Bowl with Kale and Mushrooms

One of my biggest kitchen conundrums is chicken. What to do with the endless bags of boneless, skinless chicken breast we all drag home from Costco, right?! Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy chicken and I know white meat is good for you and all that (even though I secretly cheer for team dark meat). But I just get foodie writer’s block when it comes to this most basic of chicken meals at times. So this week I did a little inspiration hunting. There’s this book I have with like a million chicken recipes. Truth be told, they’re pushing it a bit with all the chicken in that book, but one in particular I adore. It’s this creamy pasta number (surprise, surprise, I was drawn to the dish based on cheese and pasta) with woodsy mushrooms and a tangy sauce. After rummaging around the pantry and frig, I found what I needed and got to work. It’s almost a one pot wonder…almost. I combined sautéed kale spiked with red pepper flakes, creamy white beans, white wine, lemon juice, sweet carrots and peas, earthy mushrooms with chunks of perfectly cooked chicken tossed with tender pasta…a weeknight bowl that was great for leftovers and very satisfying. Feel free to change it up, toss in what you have laying around and make a mid-week feast out of it.

Midweek Meals: Hearty Chicken Bowl with Kale and Mushrooms
A Girl and Her Kitchen

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes (could use turkey)
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Olive oil, divided (or three is not using bacon grease)
1 tbsp bacon grease (or olive oil)
2 sprigs of thyme
1 c pecorino (or parmesan) grated
1/2 c white wine
1 c chicken stock
1/4 c milk
zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped (could sub with spinach)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 lb mushrooms (any kind), sliced (use more if you like)
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c dried pasta, any shape you like

Put a pot of water on to boil. Salt the water well and cook pasta according to package directions.
While water is waiting to boil, in a very large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and let sit for 3-4 minutes (do not move, let them brown!). Flip and cook another few minutes until golden on both sides. Season with a touch of salt and pepper and set aisde.
In the same pan heat the bacon grease (or you could cook bacon and add it to this, which would be delicious, or olive oil if sub) over medium heat, add kale and sauté 5 minutes. Set aside with mushrooms.

In the same pan add 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Toss the chicken cubes with flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes per site, until golden brown. Set aside with veggies.
In the same pan, add the onions and garlic and pinch of salt and pepper, add a bit more olive oil if super dry, sauté 3 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add the wine and cook 5 minutes, scrapping bottom of pan to pick of flavor. Add the lemon zest, stock, milk, thyme and carrots. Let reduce 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, kale, chicken, pasta, beans and peas into the pan along with the cheese and mix well. Taste for seasoning, adjust as needed. Serve with extra cheese for topping.
Cooks Note: Omit the meat and use veggie stock for a great vegetarian version!

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