Thursday, December 20, 2012

Company Chicken, Hold the Company

Everyone knows the Interwebs have revolutionized the life of the home cook, thanks to their bajillions of recipe indexes, how-to-videos, and dime-a-dozen food blogs by pretentious people from Brooklyn who have nothing better to do than take pictures of their meals and tweet about them. But recently, gentle reader, I found yet another way the Interwebs can be a boon to the home cook!

For some reason, The Rob had gone to the Met Foods and brought home three cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. I immediately had an overwhelming urge to pour one of those cans over something in a casserole dish, scatter bread crumbs over that something, and bake it. Then I remembered this awesome chicken dish I once watched his aunt make with boneless skinless chicken breasts and slices of Swiss cheese slathered in Campbell’s cream soup mix, which was DUH-licious and super moist. I posted on her Facebook page asking how she made it and her daughter/Rob’s cousin Sara right away snapped a photo of the recipe page in the cookbook and uploaded it to me. See? Awesome use of the Interwebs—and thanks, ladies!

The original recipe is called Company Chicken. It serves 8 and actually calls for cream of chicken, not mushroom, soup; you mix that with 1/2 cup wine white and pour it over the Swiss-topped chicken, then cover with stuffing mix and drizzle with butter before baking. I opted to soup up the recipe (“soup up”—bwaahahahaha! SWIDT?!*), not least because I had the wrong kind of soup. Here is what I came up with—which takes like 10 minutes to assemble! This would probably serve 4… though, ironically, we didn’t actually have company, so we had leftovers.

  • 1 medium onion, sliced into concentric circles
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped lengthwise into 3 segments (1 head, 2 stalk)
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not tenders/thin sliced), cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 4-6 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1 10-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 5 oz. white wine (i.e., you’re going to fill up the just-emptied soup can halfway)
  • A few thyme sprigs
  • 1-2 handfuls panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Scatter the onion circles over the bottom of a roasting dish/gratin pan.

Scatter the asparagus pieces over the onion. Sprinkle salt lightly.

Arrange the chicken pieces over the asparagus, then top each with a slice of Provolone.

Put the mushroom soup into a medium bowl, then fill the can up halfway with the white wine and pour that into the bowl. Whisk the soup and wine together till not lumpy and pour over the chicken (I used a fork to lift up the edges of a few chicken pieces to make sure the liquid got underneath it. Cover with panko.

Bake for about 1 hour, turning the dish halfway through. If the crumbs aren’t browned to your liking, jack the heat up to 425° and bake 5 more minutes.

Let the dish rest for about 10 minutes, then serve each portion of chicken, asparagus and onions in a wide shallow bowl over buttered egg noodles or corkscrew pasta. The chicken dish will be full of liquid to pour over the noodles. And the chicken will be nice and moist!

* “SWIDT?!” is an Internet acronym for “See what I did there?!” that I made up and am trying to get to catch on, even though every time I use it I hear a voice in my head going, “Stop trying to make SWIDT happen. It’s not going to happen.”

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