I have been hyper inspired lately, I don’t know where its coming from, it could have been a 5 minute filler with Rachel Ray or my latest acquisition, Julia Child’s kitchen wisdom! Well maybe a little bit of both. To top that I have been dreaming of an a la minute bistro/deli that I will run by night and not have a fixed menu ....hmmm! So my kitchen has been churning out a lot of French-Italian fare with bits of Spanish thrown in. The other day I was hell bent on making Chicken Parmigiana and I couldn’t find decent parmesan for it, I was so frustrated that I bought mushrooms, spring onions and cream cheese, thinking I would eventually do something with it! Then I remembered this one lovely mushroom sauce recipe I had made a long time back, very simple, very French and of course, very rich! I had already flattened the fillets and marinated them in little Worcestershire sauce, so there it was, crumb fried fillets a la Parmigiana with a champignon sauce to compliment it, nice!
The Parmigiana part:
4 chicken breasts, flattened
Oil to shallow fry
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Little salt and pepper
2 cups of breadcrumbs
3 tbsp of cornflour
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced thin, if you want this sauce to be really authentic, use a white onion
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly slivered, the French wouldn’t murder a dish with this much garlic, but then a lot of my cooking is garlicky and I think it helps me appreciate Europe inspired dishes a bit more!
1 pack of mushrooms, sliced thin, that’s about 200 gms or so.
2 tbsp butter
½ cup cream cheese, I use Philadelphia, pocket permitting or if a travelling relative has been kind, otherwise Britannia cream cheese isn’t that bad to cook with.
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 tbsp sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, here too if you want a light and satiny sauce, use white pepper, we like our food robust and fragrant so I actually used a woody potent pepper like Malabar.
Keep some milk handy to thin the sauce, it thickens as it sits. A friend of mine just mailed me that she tried this and it was thick ...hmmm!
Melt the butter in a pan, fry the onions and garlic till transparent, add the mushrooms and turn up the heat so they sear and shrink, fry for about 2-3 minutes, lower the heat and add the cream cheese, in dollops if you have to, it will melt and spread. Season with salt and pepper, if you need something a little extra, you can use half a cube of chicken stock. Just crumble it on top, and stir gently, so the cheese doesn’t stick and melts evenly. Take off the fire and gently stir in the cream. Put back on the fire for few minutes till it bubbles a bit, check seasoning, take off the fire. Mix the breadcrumbs, cornflour and seasoning in a flat dinner plate. Pat the fillets down on the bed of breadcrumb mix; use your palms to flatten it more, so the crumbs stick well. heat oil in a large frying pan. Shallow fry the fillets for 4 minutes or so on both sides, depending on how long you marinated the chicken, flatted chicken breasts cook pretty fast and can get overdone pretty fast too. I use tongs to turn the chicken, I don’t like spatulas, the sometimes take off the coating!
Set the fillets on a platter and top with ladles of the mushroom sauce, you can serve separately too, but the sauce keeps the fillets warm and juicy. You can season once more with dry dill if you like. I served this meal with a salami and salsa bruschetta and shredded lettuce. I always keep extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the sideboard, a dash of each on the lettuce and this meal is complete!