Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Night Comfort Food: Baked Chicken With Mushrooms

Saturday night is my favorite night of the week to stay in. All the douchebags are out and about, crowding up restaurants and bars. It's the one night I can actually find an available washing machine in my apartment building’s laundry room. And because I have the day off work, I can leisurely grocery-shop (the Met Foods is rarely crowded on Saturday) and cook dinner.

This evening, I was kind of feeling a mid-twentieth-century housewife vibe (okay, fine, when am I not?). I was also feeling extremely lazy. So I decided to make this update on those classic grosstastic suburban-mom dishes that involve dumping a can of cream of mushroom soup on some chicken and sticking it in the oven. I figured it would be low-maintenance and hearty. And it was.

However. Gentle reader, what you are about to read may shock you. You see, tonight I defied every principle of Brooklyn foodie-ism to prepare a meal that involved—yes—prepackaged, additive-addled food products. Luckily, if your body is a temple of loca-eco-susta-whateverability, you can easily skip said ingredients.

  • First, preheat the oven to 400°.

  • I sliced an 8-ounce package of mushrooms and 1 large shallot (or you could use 2 small, duh), then scattered them around the bottom of a roasting pan. You could actually double these proportions if you really like mushrooms; they cook down a lot.

  • I sprinkled the mushroom mix with about 2 tsp total of mixed coarse salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried herbs (experiment with oregano, thyme, basil, sage, and/or tarragon). You can use more or less, to your taste.

  • I added 6 chicken thighs, skin side up, and sprinkled another 2 tsp-ish of the spice mix on top.

  • I added maybe 1/2 cup chicken stock to the pan (use 1 cup if you doubled the mushrooms and shallots), then slathered the chicken skin with some gravy I had left over in the fridge, because that’s how I roll. If you don’t have gravy, you could use about 1/2 cup sour cream.... Or, hell, you could use a can of cream of mushroom soup.

  • And yeah ... ummm ... I miiiight have added a schmear of Lay’s brand onion dip. (Which I only have on hand because The Rob eats it! No, seriously! Okay, fine, I like it too! Don’t judge me.) But you could obviously skip this. Anyway. Moving on.

  • Bake this dish for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is nice and crispy and brown on top. You can drain the liquid from the pan and make gravy if you like. (I did.)

    Adding to the prefab-food shame, I served this with (frozen White Rose brand) peas tossed in garlic butter with chives and—gasp!—Rice-a-Roni, chicken flavor.

    Yes, I know you're scandalized. ("How can she call herself a food blogger?") And you could of course serve the veggies and rice or whole grain of your choice; this would also be good with egg noodles. But look, once in a while we all need a little bit of good old-fashioned American artificiality in our lives!


    1. "All the douchebags are out and about, crowding up restaurants and bars."

      Hey, I was out Saturday night!

      Oh, wait, point illustrated.

    2. Gene, I would think you of all people would note the logical fallacy here. If all the douchebags are out, that does not mean that everyone who is out is a douchebag. (Unless they're from Jersey; that is a sufficient, though not necessary, condition of being a douchebag.)