Day 52: Another day, another chicken

February 21, 2007

This evening our allocated dish was Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce [recipe]. This was a straightforward recipe to follow and the results were reasonably good. There seemed to be potential in this recipe for a very tasty meal, but unfortunately the flavour fell short, cumulating in a somewhat bland overall result. Essentially the dish consisted of pan fried chicken breasts, cremini mushrooms, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, shallots, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley. The sauce was made with butter, flour, chicken stock, cream and balsamic vinegar. Just before serving, I tasted the sauce and added more balsamic vinegar, probably doubling the called for amount. Still, we both felt that something more was required to boost the flavour; perhaps more balsamic, more garlic and some wine.

However, as a basic recipe, this is worth hanging on to. The mushrooms were good and the consistency of the sauce was fine, although slightly on the thick side. I would imagine that this would be a good basis for a meal made with pork tenderloin or steak, rather than chicken. The pasta was orzo, which is one of my personal favourites. L, however, finds it to be like “pasta porridge”. We very rarely eat orzo, as a consequence. I found that the excitement of eating orzo almost compensated for the fact that we were having chicken again. Although not quite.

The Food Network website write up of this recipe, states,

This recipe is a modern take on the ol’ Cream of Mushroom Chicken. This one is more healthful and almost as easy as pouring that condensed, salty mass out of a can. It will heal a long day!

This information seems to perhaps explain the divisive reviews of the recipe on the website, where people either absolutely love it, or find it a little bland. My take would be that those who are expecting an updated Cream of Mushroom recipe, find that it is tasty and “better than fabulous”. I ate a fair share of meals based on Campbell’s Condensed Soup as a student, and a few since moving to the Midwest, and this recipe is better than any of those, no question. However, for those people expecting a Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce, this recipe seems to be a disappointment, with its “severe lack of flavor”. That is where our opinion lies. With $11 worth of mushrooms in this dish, the sauce would definitely have been more satisfying, had it been a little more robust.

Tomorrow we start the egg run, with Eggs-traordinary Stuffed Toasty Baskets with Lemony Greens, followed by Eggs-traordinary Spanish Style Stuffed Toasty Baskets with Lemony Greens. Let’s hope that Baby A has been secretly practicing her words for reviewing food. We’re not sure that tortoise and cracker, eye and nose, mummy and daddy, or hat and shoes will be adequate vocabulary to convey how she feels about her dinner. Or how effectively she feels the chorizo and olives radically revamp the meal, Spanish Style.

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