Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mr. B's Chicken

Oh, Mr. B.

How you make such a tasty meal. And you don't. follow. directions.
It drives me nuts. It's my OCD personality.

I'm all about following the recipe correctly the first time, and then making my own adjustments the next time around. I used to never stray from this mantra, but over the last few years I have...especially when it comes to my healthier lifestyle, like replacing some ingredients with healthier ones, and realizing I don't have to have every ingredient listed and I can substitute to my own liking. Actually, I'm pretty sure I have no mantra except make it healthy, delicious, and good for you. These are my rules now. (Oh and, as I said before I'm OCD, I hate mess, so I clean up as I go.)

Mr. B's rules:
  • The recipe must have a picture so he can see what the food is supposed to look like.
  • If he doesn't have all the ingredients, oh well. "They all can't be that important."
  • Just because the recipe is written in a certain order doesn't mean it has to be done that way.
  • The kitchen must be a disaster when finished.
Ai. yi. yi.

Yet, this chicken dish is divine. I don't know how he does it. I don't know what he does, which step he's missing/combing/ingredient added or subtracted. I'm too busy cleaning up his mess as he cooks to pay attention.

One day he found this recipe in this huge cookbook I purchased for him way back when he moved into his first apartment all by his lonesome. It was on sale, way $9.99 Borders. (Ahh, Borders.) It's The 1,000 Best Recipes. And this thing can be a serious weapon. It's huge, inconvenient, and I have no idea why I bought it for him of all people, but it has beautiful and mouth-watering recipe gems. Anyhoo, he decided he wanted this for dinner. He had "all" of the ingredients, so he made it. And it's been his dish ever since. We have this about once every other month, only because he decides he wants to "cook-cook" every other month. (Mr. B will usually make a quick dinner, and it's usually just for him, about once a week, reading: steak or pork chops or sausage or eggs and bacon or frozen pizza [GASP.]. When he can grill, then his cooking is more frequent.)

Once, I was feeling brave. We hadn't had this dish in awhile and he was working late, therefore I decided to surprise him with his recipe. I followed the directions, used all of the right ingredients, and it looked exactly like the picture (which his never does, btw; this should have been my first clue). It wasn't awful. But it wasn't Mr. B's chicken. My sauce turned out soupy and thin. His is thick and holds to the chicken.

Alas, this is Mr. B's recipe and only his.

Chicken in Mushroom & Paprika Sauce (a.k.a. Mr. B's Chicken)
*this is the somewhat adapted recipe from The 1,000 Best Recipes

serves 4

4 chicken breasts
1/4 c flour (or cornstarch)
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 c (plus more for cooking) chicken broth, divided
1/3 c sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Trim fat from chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place chicken and flour in plastic bag, shaking until chicken is coated. Heat some chicken broth in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook (in batches, if needed) until chicken is brown, about 5 minutes. Place chicken on plate and set aside. Add more chicken broth to skillet, adding onion and garlic, cooking 2  minutes over medium heat. add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add paprika, cooked chicken, and stir to combine. Combine tomato paste with 1/2 c chicken broth in a small bowl. Add to skillet and stir until combined. Season to taste. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. (I know for a fact Mr. B doesn't do this step.) Cook until chicken is cooked through. Stir in sour cream, and sprinkle with parsley.

Good luck. Oh, and here's to making recipes your own!

*I promise to update this post with prettier pictures. We always devour this dish before I realize I haven't taken a picture!

With Love and God Bless,

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