If you’re anything like me, you start the week with grand plans (and a long list) of all the things you’re going to get accomplished. Paint the porch. Just in time for Halloween! Work on the novel. Duh, I’ll just wake up an hour earlier! Train the dog to stop losing her mind every time the UPS truck is within a seven block radius. Easy as cake! Oooooh, maybe I’ll make a cake.
Then inevitably, usually by about Thursday, I realize that not only have I managed to fail in getting those things done, but I also didn’t use that chard I bought and the dog is now convinced that the clean laundry basket is her new bed because the un-folded clothes have been in there so long.
That’s about when remember that even when I’m too busy to care whether my socks match, I can still make something really satisfying for dinner. It doesn’t have to be a big production (especially if you’re not stopping every five minutes to take pictures).
If you follow this blog at all, you probably know how I feel about chicken thighs (hint: I like them). They’re cheap (even organic ones are pretty affordable), they cook quickly, and best of all, they are really hard to mess up. I know chicken breasts are much more popular but they dry out so easily (unless they are brined, marinated and cooked to the elusively perfect temperature).
Thighs, on the other hand, are very forgiving (I feel like that last sentence belongs on another, very different sort of blog. Ahem). I used skin-on / bone-in this time because that’s what was on sale this week but I’ve made the same recipe with skinless, boneless thighs and it’s just as good (minus the crispy factor), and cooks even quicker.
- Store mushrooms in a paper bag. They stay fresh for longer.
- Mushrooms absorb water like sponges, so don’t soak them. The best way to clean them is to rub them gently with a clean, damp paper towel or cloth.
- Mushrooms release a lot of liquid during cooking, so try not to crowd the pan or they’ll steam and get rubbery.
- Make sure the pan is hot enough to quickly evaporate the moisture and caramelize the mushrooms. If you don’t hear sizzling, adjust the heat until you do.
- Don’t wash raw chicken! Just dry well on clean paper towels.
- This mushroom sauce is amazing with pan seared pork chops as well.
Baked Chicken with Creamy Mushrooms
- 6-8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium leeks white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced (or 3 shallots, sliced)
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Season chicken thighs well with salt and pepper, to taste. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down. Once it’s in the pan, don't move it for a few minutes, until the skin is golden brown and releases easily without tearing (about 5 minutes). Turn chicken over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Pour out the fat from the pan, leaving one tablespoon and melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add mushrooms and leeks and cook until the mushrooms are lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add wine and bring it to a simmer, then add the chicken broth and the herbs. Return chicken to the skillet.
- Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil; To the mushrooms, stir in cream and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- To serve, keep the skin crispy by spooning the mushroom mixture on a plate and placing the chicken on top (if using skinless, just top with sauce).
- *This recipe works well with boneless, skinless thighs as well but cut the baking time to 15-20 minutes.