Most of my meal planning, unless I'm doing a dinner party, is done at an open refrigerator. What do you have for me today? This week I had a couple of chicken breasts, some crimini mushrooms and the normal stuff in the cupboard.
Mushrooms: left the small ones whole and quartered the larger ones. Sauteed them in butter and olive oil, some salt and pepper and at the last 30 seconds tossed in a few cloves of chopped garlic. Damn, that smells good. Removed to a dish.
Chicken breast: sliced them across the grain and flattened the slices. Dredged these in seasoned flour and sauteed in mushroom pan with a bit more olive oil; quickly removing when each was lightly browned.
Cooked some linguine in boiling water until just cooked; drained. Always save a bit of the pasta water. Some restaurants call that "profit."
Finish: deglazed the pan with a bit of chicken broth, added chicken and mushrooms back to pan along with 1/4 cup of creme fraiche, fresh chopped thyme and a good splash of Spanish Sherry. This simmered for a few minutes to blend the flavors. To this add the hot, drained linguine and a bit of the pasta water if the sauce needs thinning.
Serving: into the hot dish I tossed about a half cup of grated Parmesan and topped with chopped fresh Italian parsley and a bit of salt.
I love these flavors together. Chicken, thyme, garlic and sherry. The creme fraiche just makes the sauce milder and very rich. Dredging the chicken in flour adds a bit of thickness to the sauce as well. This dish is loaded with flavors and it is easy to overlook the salt. I feel you really must taste before serving because salt seems to tie all the flavors together.
Question: Do you plan your meals? If so, how far ahead?