Two of the condiments — ketchup and mustard — essential to my husband’s culinary enjoyment are predictable enough. Balsamic vinegar, as the third member of his taste trifecta, perhaps pegs him as not exactly “all-American.”
Curiously, a man who can’t abide the smell of vinegar cooking will eat just about anything doused in that sweet-tart elixir so often associated with Italian cuisine. Of course, most of the vinegars available at American grocers aren’t truly “aceto balsamico,” as they are known in Italy. But given the rate at which Will consumes it, we can hardly justify the gourmet versions aged for decades.
But that frees us to experiment with balsamic vinegar in myriad recipes. I can rely on warm balsamic vinaigrette to recommend just about any salad for Will’s consumption. Chicken breast, the subject of this blog’s previous post, already is a shoe-in. With this creamy balsamic sauce, he’d find it irresistible.
Creamy Balsamic Skillet Chicken
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (or about 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 ounces mushrooms (stem ends trimmed), quartered
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Cut each of the chicken breasts lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips, then cut each strip in 2. Cover with plastic wrap and pound lightly, to make small cutlets. Set aside.
In a wide skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the paper on a plate. Dip each piece of chicken and place in skillet with onions and garlic. Cook, turning occasionally, until just a little golden and browned but not cooked entirely way through. Remove chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.
Add the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar to pan, then add the mushrooms and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits and turning mushrooms. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the cream, then return all chicken pieces to pan, turning to coat with sauce. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens a little. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe from “The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook,” by Mary Younkin (Page Street, 2016)