Chicken…again

Chicken is fairly inexpensive and I buy either breasts or thighs every time I go shopping so there is no shortage of chicken so that has been my “fresh food” go to this last week so I dug up one of my very first cookbooks ever, 365 Easy Chicken Recipes so that I could do something other than just bake them. In this case I didn’t want to do any extra shopping so I dug thru all the spice and sauce and marinade and mix I had and I found a package of Spring Vegetable Dip/Soup mix that was only one month out of date and some sour cream that was needing to be used or tossed before it became cottage cheese and a recipe that called for both!

Enter Chicken Marseilles. I don’t remember what my plan was for the ingredients I had but I wasn’t thinking of this combination.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 package of Vegetable Soup/Dip mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Melt the butter and brown the chicken for about 13 minutes. Turn it over about half-way thru. No, this is not long enough to cook the chicken but it gets cooked more in the next steps. After the 13 minutes take the chicken out of the pan but leave the bits and the last of the butter, stir in 2 cups of chicken broth or stock or water or white wine or any combination of those things that you feel like, (I used 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of broth) the soup mix and the dill into the skillet and get it up to a simmer then add the chicken back to the mix. Let this cook covered over low heat for about 20 but not more than 25 minutes. We have talked about how easy it is for chicken to get overcooked and dry even tho it is cooking in sauce. I checked the temp at 15 minutes to decide how much longer to cook them. I guess I can mention that I used thighs so they were thinner than breasts and needed less time for the initial browning and subsequent simmering. Once the chicken is up to 140 or 145 degrees pull it from the sauce and put it in the oven on warm and stir the sour cream into the sauce and let it get all sexy and creamy and saucy. Put the chicken on top of whatever starch

My book suggests serving this over brown rice but I used Jasmine rice just because we like it better but this could be served over any type of rice or pasta or couscous or potato or roasted carrots or smashed cauliflower.

This would be super easy to make vegetarian! Instead of chicken use a portobello mushroom or tofu. Add roasted bell pepper and garlic to the sauce and use feta cheese instead of the sour cream and top with chopped capers and lemon zest. Add chopped mushrooms and tomato to the sauce, use 1/2 cup of vodka as part of the liquid and replace the sour cream with half and half. Add pepperoncini peppers or a fire roasted red pepper, black olives and red onion to the sauce, replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt and top with dill and feta cheese. If you go the Italian way then serve over pasta, if you choose a more Mediterranean then use the couscous or a long grain and wild rice mix or basmati rice. Give me a minute and I will come up with a more Mexican way… OK. Add a can of drained, diced tomatoes, maybe some fresh corn that you grill or roast, keep the sour cream, serve over a Spanish style or brown rice and top with avacado and cilantro and queso fresco.

This is a perfect recipe for using up the bits that you have leftover from that charcuterie board or the shopping trip you made extra because you had a craving for veggies or using those things you intended to donate to the food drive but forgot to put out by the mailbox. I am not sure why you couldn’t use a pork chop or even some skirt steak. If you use the skirt steak you could slice it into strips and make it into fajita or taco meat, use up the ground beef and serve over mashed potatoes or cauliflower kind of like a shepard’s pie.

This could make the filling for a chicken pie! Shred the cooked chicken, add roasted and diced carrots, potatoes, and yellow onion, cut the liquid by half and add a little cornstarch to thicken it up since it needs to be almost a paste to be used as filling in crust of any type. You could make one large pie or do individual ones. Chicken pie often wants a gravy to go along side so after you make the filling keep the bits in the pan and add a bit more liquid to make a tasty juice before you get it up to a simmer and add a little flour to get a roux and stir in the half and half to complete the gravy! Gravy will need a little more seasonings like salt and pepper,  most all other preparations will get enough flavor from the package of mix that has somehow became the star of the dish, that random package of Spring Vegetable Soup/Dip mix that I picked up for something that is now forgotten but it may have just been because it was on sale and I figured that I could either make the dip or use it in some kind of way.

What started out as a shot in the dark because I had random ingredients on hand has turned into a long and winding road and apparently a chance for me to use song lyrics! I suppose the moral of this story is to no be so worried about experimenting with flavors and using ingredients in ways that don’t immediately come to mind.

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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