Any meal that involves both cream sauce and less than 30 minutes of cooking time is a winner in my book.
This week has been nothing short of crazy (hence my blog post hiatus over the last 10 or so days). My lease at my last flat, which is where I’d been living since I arrived in Scotland ended on Sunday, which meant I had to move. About three weeks ago I started looking for new flats to let in the area of town that I’d gotten to know (because when you find a good nail lady, you stick with her), and I ended up finding a great place right down the road. I reached out to the agency in charge of the tenancy agreement, filled out their application – which was approved – and, long story short, I thought I had the place locked down, i.e., I stopped looking for any other flats to let. Cut to the Wednesday before I was set to move, when the agency E-mailed me to let me know that the owner of the flat decided to just let her family use the flat for the month and, of course, they apologized for any inconvenience the last-minute notice might cause.
The inconvenience caused was, to be specific: the stress that accompanies being suddenly and unexpectedly (internationally) homeless, the utter panic of finding another flat in the span of a few short days, the cost of the hotel I had to stay in for the 2 days between when my lease ended and my new lease began and the strain of not one, but two moves in the span of 5 days. But, as they say, all’s well that ends well, and I am now the proud tenant of a wonderful flat in one of the most adorable and sought-after ‘hoods in Edinburgh.
I didn’t cook my first night in my new flat, because I’d just unpacked for the second time in 48 hours and doing dishes sounded about as fun as trying on high-waisted jeans. By the second night, though, I was very ready to get back in the kitchen and get away from eating out for every meal, which (speaking of clothes that don’t fit) has cost me about 5 pounds over the last week and a half, so I decided, naturally, to make a sauce that contains, primarily: wine, butter and heavy cream. Baby steps, friends – at least I didn’t have an appetizer.
Seriously, though, this isn’t the type of cream sauce that will have you feeling super heavy and guilty afterward; it’s nice and light, and you can control how much of it you decide to make, or you can adjust the cream to wine/lemon juice ratio and make a much lighter sauce altogether. The dish is so easy – you cook the veggies, chicken and sauce in the same pan, and if you’re not feeling asparagus and mushrooms (no idea why anyone would want to avoid the makes-your-pee-smell/fungus combo), you could use any combination of vegetables that you like. I think sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke would be a really delicious variation. I also used a bag of two-minute, microwavable rice to complete this dinner, which made everything even easier. Here’s how I got it all together:
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 asparagus spears, cut into one inch pieces, on the diagonal (because food should be pretty, too)
4 large white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (stems removed)
2-3 medium sized chicken breasts, pounded so that they’re about 1/2-3/4 inch thickness and seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides
3/4 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
Juice of half a lemon
3 tabs (tablespoons) butter
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup heavy/whipping cream
Instant white rice
salt and pepper
Preheat an oven to 350 degree Farenheit.
Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of a pan) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and veggies and a dash of salt and pepper, and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the veggies are tender but not mushy.
Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside. Add more olive oil to the pan and add the seasoned chicken breasts to the pan. Sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, until each side of the chicken breasts are golden brown.
Remove the chicken from the pan (leave the cooking juices in the pan!), transfer to oven-safe dish and roast at 350 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, de-glaze the pan with the lemon juice and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the wine, oregano and a few dashes each of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the cream and bring to a rolling boil. Add the veggies back to the pan and saute for 3-5 minutes. When the chicken is done, add it to the sauce and saute for 2 minutes, coating the chicken in the sauce/veggie mixture.
I served this over instant white rice, which I cooked in the microwave and seasoned with salt and pepper.