Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream

In my previous post I promised another recipe from Julia Child.  This time it’s her Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream.  As with the bruschetta, I first got the idea for the chicken from the great food porno Julie & Julia.  In the movie, Julie Powell has made it her mission to create all the recipes in Julia Child’s cook book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  While we don’t see her create every single recipe in the film, we do see her create this one. 

Watching Amy Adams stir those mushrooms while she poured in the cream and Bordeaux made me desperately want to try this recipe.  So, I searched online and found it.  I bought all the ingredients including a nice bottle of dry Marsala wine and was ready to cook.  But I hit a small snag, after I sauteed the mushrooms and shallots in the butter and added the chicken, I discovered I had to cook the chicken in the oven in the mushroom/butter mixture. 

I don’t own any Le Creuset products and I wasn’t about to run out and buy one no matter how much I wanted to make this dish.  But I do own several All-Clad products, including a wonderful saute pan.  I remembered reading somewhere that they could go in the oven.  So, I called the company just to confirm, and the wonderful people in All-Clad’s customer service told me that yes, all their products, are oven and broiler safe. (Their nonstick cookware isn’t broiler safe, but can be put in the oven up to 500°F. )  I was thrilled.  I had no idea I could put my All-Clad in the oven.  But now that I know that I can, believe me, I’m going to start doing it more often. 

There is just one thing to remember, though.  Metal is a serious heat conductor.  So, if you do put your stainless steel All-Clad pan in the oven, remember to use oven mitts once it’s back on the stove.  While I obviously used an oven mitt to pull the pan out of the oven, I forgot it takes awhile for the metal to cool off and grabbed the handle with my bare hand.  Yes, I got a serious burn.  So, please, let my pain be a lesson to you  – remember to always wear your oven mitts from the moment the pan comes out of the oven, until your done cooking.

Making the sauce

Even though I burned my hand, I was able to finish cooking the chicken and the result was amazing.  Yes, butter and cream may be bad for us, but sometimes, nothing else will do.  Trust me, this recipe would not have been nearly as good if I had used skim milk and margarine.  Sometimes you just have to use the fatty stuff.  This is one of those times.  Thanks to the heavy cream and butter, the sauce was so damn good, I was tempted to drink it straight out of the pan.  And if you make this dish, I’m sure you’ll be faced with the same temptation.

Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 pound of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of dry wine, like Marsala, Chardonnay on Bordeaux
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the chicken with lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Heat the butter in a heavy oven proof saute pan or casserole dish (I used my All-Clad) until it’s foaming.  Stir in the minced shallots and saute for about a minute.  Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for another minute or two.

Quickly roll the chicken breasts in the butter mixture.  Cover the pan or casserole dish, place in the oven, and cook the chicken and mushrooms for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stove.  Transfer the chicken to a warm platter (leave the mushrooms in the pan for the sauce) and cover. 

For the sauce: pour the stock and wine into the pan with the mushrooms, shallots and butter.  Boil down quickly over high heat, the sauce will start to look like a syrup.  Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and serve immediately.