This recipe could also be called Coq au Vin for Dummies; but it takes a true smarty-pants to know when to toil over the real thing and when to choose an incredibly easy, equally tasty variation. While certainly delicious enough for guests, Tarragon Chicken on Mushrooms and Onions could easily be one of those busy woman’s go-to dinners.
I made this when I knew I didn’t have time to spend much time in the kitchen but the day was cold and rainy, and the comfort foods of my childhood were calling me. Going back to my days as a kid when dinner wasn’t dinner if there weren’t three distinct dishes on the table - meat, potato, and vegetable - I decided this would be perfect.
Knowing I would be in a hurry, I planned to serve it with baked potatoes. However, at the time, I hadn’t yet realized the gravy/sauce potential. I ended up sorry that I hadn’t thought ahead a bit better and prepared some good old mashed potatoes. They would have been a perfect accompaniment. I’d originally planned to simply spoon the goodies from the bottom of the baking dish over the chicken; but realized as I began to remove the chicken, that the mushrooms and onions that had been slowly cooked in wine and chicken juices were calling out to be transformed into something more. After reducing for a few minutes, as I might in a true Coq au Vin, I believe perhaps I channeled my mom (weird, since she’s very much alive and kickin’) and added a slurry of of milk for creaminess and flour for it’s thickening power. Voila! (to stick with the French theme!) a creamy, chicken-y, mushroom-y sauce. Delicious!
You could easily play with the type of mushrooms in this dish. Portabellas or shitake’s would add lovely flavor. Likewise, the herbs could be modified. I love taragon with chicken; but you might like sage or rosemary, or a combination of the three. Lastly, If you prefer, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breast. Doing so would cut down on the fat, as you’d have all white meat and no skin; but if flavor is your primary aim, bone-in and skin-on are definitely the way to go. Regardless of the direction you take with this dish, I encourage you to try it. You won’t be disappointed!
- 2 each: chicken breasts, thighs, legs with skin on
- 1 generous teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 to 18 large baby-bella or button mushrooms sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Position rack in center of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
- Trim any excess fat and skin from chicken.
- Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to create a paste.
- Rub chicken with paste - coating each piece generously. Set aside.
- In the bottom of a 9 x13″ baking dish, spread mushroom and onion slices.
- Sprinkle mushrooms and onions with minced garlic.
- Place chicken pieces, skin side up on bed of vegetables.
- Pour wine into the bottom of the pan.
- Cover with foil and bake for ten minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the skin on the chicken is crisp and golden and the chicken registers 165° on a thermometer.
- Remove chicken to a platter and cover loosely with foil.
- Spoon onions, mushrooms and broth in the bottom of the pan into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Allow juices to reduce for five minutes when at a full boil.
- While broth is reducing, whisk together milk and flour – make sure there are no lumps.
- Stir the slurry into boiling broth and allow to simmer for at least one full minute to cook the flour and thicken the sauce.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.