One of the things you learn when you live in a remote community is adaptability. Grocery shopping here in town is not like shopping at the big chains where you have a ton of selection. Sometimes when you go into the La Honda Country Market for particular ingredients, you have to be flexible. But this is not a negative. Cooking, for me, is all about experimentation, and when you substitute one ingredient for another you might just come up with a new dish that your family will love. Mine craves variety.
That was the case this week with what I’m calling Chicken La Honda. The basis for this dish is Chicken Picatta. But the mushrooms at the store looked wonderful, so those went in my shopping bag. Next was the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Yum. And the chicken breasts were lovely–all individually vacuum-sealed so I could freeze the ones I didn’t use.
This meal cost me less than $25, and it made enough for two family meals. Plus I had a lot of raw ingredients left over for a different meal. Now that’s what I call Country Market Cooking! Here’s the recipe:
Chicken La Honda
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cloves of garlic-chopped (or use garlic powder in a pinch)
half a package of mushrooms-sliced (4 oz)
half a small jar of capers-drained (2 oz)
2 oz sliced ripe olives-drained (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes (fresh or sun-dried)
1/2 can of artichoke hearts-drained and quartered (if using fresh artichoke hearts, cook first)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup chicken broth
juice of half a lemon (make sure no seeds make it into the pan!)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup canola oil
spaghetti, linguine, fettucine or any kind of pasta you like
Pour canola oil into a large frying pan, turn the stove to medium-high. When the oil starts to ripple, saute the chicken breasts until they are brown on both sides but not cooked through. Depending on the thickness of the meat, it might take 2-4 minutes per side. Once you have browned the second side of the chicken breasts, push them to the outside edge of the pan and in the center add the garlic, mushrooms, capers, black olives, tomatoes and artichokes (or any combination of these). Turn heat down to medium and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Then add white wine, chicken broth and lemon juice. Stir gently to incorporate the sauce into the other ingredients. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of each chicken breast to melt. (Now is a good time to throw the pasta in the boiling water you have going!) Cook for an additional 5 minutes (chicken breasts are done when you press on them and they feel firm–like the pad of your hand’s palm). Turn off the heat under the chicken and finish up with your pasta.
To serve, place pasta in the middle of plate, top it with a chicken breast, and pour sauce and vegetables from pan over each helping. This goes well with a fresh green salad and garlic bread if you like. And a nice crisp white wine (the wine left in the bottle from the sauce makes a harmonious balance!)
There you have it. Mangia! See you next week.