On a recent rainy Sunday evening, I enjoyed this delicious one-pot meal made by my son-in-law Chris. We sat around the dinner table together near the warm woodstove, multiple puppies under our feet, and all of us took a collective deep breath.
I had been traveling out west, enjoying 70-degree weather, constant sunshine and eating multiple meals consisting of yummy Mexican food. It was fabulous, of course, but it’s also wonderful to be home.
This tummy-warming dish is reminiscent of stroganoff, only with chicken and a lighter sauce. Sauteing the onions in a hot, dry pan releases their moisture so that they shrink and become silky and sweet in 30 minutes.
This can be served right from the pan and placed in serving bowls with wide noodles or mashed potatoes. Add some crusty bread and salad and you’re all set.
Except for dessert, that is. I love desserts made with pears. This one is a light and easy Whole30 recipe that you can make exactly as is or substitute butter for the coconut oil and add honey or maple syrup if you like. It can be tweaked further as you wish, but the simplicity is lovely.
Skillet chicken with mushrooms
6-7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large (4 cups) yellow onions, thinly sliced
3/4 pound (4 cups) cremini mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
2 big handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped (optional)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, honey, mustard, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; whisk until smooth. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then add to the mixture, coating it well. Set aside at room temperature, stirring it once while the onions are cooking.
Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, 1 ½ to 2 minutes, then add onions in an even layer. Season with salt, then cook for 4 minutes more, stirring every minute or so.
Add mushrooms, season with salt, and stir to combine. Cook until mushrooms shrink and start to brown, about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil and allow onions to cook until they start to color, stirring and lowering the heat as necessary to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Remove onions and mushrooms to a platter and keep warm.
Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add chicken thighs, reserving any remaining marinade. Sear on both sides for 5-6 minutes, then cover and cook until done. (Cooking time will depend on thickness of chicken; a meat thermometer should register 165 degrees.)
When the chicken is done, add onions and mushrooms (and spinach if using) to the pan with the reserved marinade and cook 5 more minutes over low heat or until spinach is wilted, stirring a couple times.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. Season to taste.
Remove from heat and serve in individual bowls with pasta or mashed potatoes. Top with parsley and cheese.
Yield: 4 servings
Roasted pears with cinnamon walnuts
2 large red pears, halved and cored
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Honey or maple syrup, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Coat the pear halves with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Place on the baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
When the pears are almost done, toast the chopped walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, for about 3 minutes.
Add coconut oil and cinnamon to the walnuts, tossing to coat. Cook for a minute or two.
Remove the pears from the oven. Place one pear half in each serving dish. Divide the cinnamon walnuts evenly over the pear halves.
Yield: 4 servings