We have been trying to eat everything in the freezer now for a month so we can defrost the refrigerator and perhaps fix the leak that is coming out from beneath. It seems that I have hidden chicken parts all over the place including a pack of 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs that I had bought to make General Tso's chicken. Yesterday was its day but low and behold my daughter brought us dinner from our favorite Chinese takeout and the recipe went out the window. Mark Bittman had just posted a recipe for roasted chicken breasts and all bells started going off in my head. A package of mushrooms was also going bad and it needed to be used, so... here you have the results.
This recipe is best with chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, not chicken breasts. They would be too dry. If you go the latter route, only cook for about 30 minutes or so. I loved the taste of this dish with the boneless thighs which is something I had only used in the past for the Chinese recipe. I also think bread crumbs would work better although I used the Panko and they adhered well enough.
Even though it made for a delightful dinner for us tonight, and better leftovers tomorrows, I think this would be a great recipe for a ladies lunch or bridge night. Somehow I don't like to serve chicken for company at night, so I would not consider it dinner party fare. I served curried yellow rice with it and the combination was perfect. So there you have it... another evening at the improv!
For the mushroom stuffing
1 Tb butter
1 Tb olive oil
1 lbs white mushrooms coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TB chopped parsley
2 TB dry sherry, or white wine
Melt butter and oil together in a skillet on medium high. Add the garlic, shallots, salt and pepper and mushrooms and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add wine and parsley and reduce. Remove to the side and let cool.
For the breaded chicken thighs
4 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup coarse bread crumbs, preferably fresh, or panko
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts ( I used walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs pounded to uniform thickness if necessary
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet with a little oil or butter. Combine the bread crumbs, chopped nuts, and 1/4 cup of the parsley in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
2. Lay the chicken thighs flat and fill with about 1 tsp of mushroom stuffing. Roll closed and stick one or two toothpicks to hold together. Dip each chicken thigh first in melted butter, then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing down to make it adhere. Put each stuffed thigh, on the baking sheet. If there’s any leftover topping, sprinkle it on top of the chicken and press down a bit.
3. Roast until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the thighs look golden, 50 to 60 minutes or more. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.
Inspired by Mark Bittman