my brother came to visit this weekend. yesterday was a rainy, fall day and we didn’t end up doing much before one or two o’clock in the afternoon. after a few hours out and around kalamazoo and spending some time paging through the november issues of food and wine and cooking light,  i started to come up with ideas of my own for dinner.

since i hadn’t ever prepared anything like this dish before, i wanted to work from scratch, combining the ingredients that sounded most appealing to me. the overall flavor of the sauce is slightly sweet and complex, surprising because there were so few ingredients that went into it. i think that taking the steps in order to make the sauce give it that unique flavor. hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

chicken in red wine tomato sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup + 2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 large sweet onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 14 oz. can tomato sauce

2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped

2 cups fresh spinach

you’ll want to start the sauce first. dice the onions & garlic, and heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized sauce pan. once the oil is heated, add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes, then add the onions and reduce heat, sauteing for another 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and slightly browned. meanwhile, slice the mushrooms, then add them to the onions and garlic. continue to saute until some of the moisture has come out of the mushrooms and they’ve started to brown. bring the heat back up to medium.

carefully add the wine to the pan, stirring afterward to combine. after a minute or two, add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and chopped tomatoes chopped tomatoes. bring to a slight boil, then reduce the heat and allow the sauce to thicken.

while the sauce is cooking down, cut each chicken breast into two or three pieces, depending on the size. tear a sheet of parchment paper and season the chicken with the kosher salt, pepper, and oregano. put the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a dutch oven and heat over medium for a minute. once the pan is hot, add the chicken in one layer.  leave it for 5 minutes to let it brown, then flip and leave it again for 5 minutes. if it still needs to be cooked a bit longer after that, flip once or twice more, until the chicken is firm.

once the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened, carefully place the chicken into the pan with the sauce and stir. just before you’re ready to eat, add the spinach to the pan as well, and stir until the spinach is wilted.

i made a cauliflower puree to serve with the chicken: take a head of cauliflower, and remove florets. steam the florets over boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until the pieces can easily be pierced with a fork. blend the cauliflower with 2 T. olive oil, 1/2-1 cup vegetable stock, and salt and pepper.

place a generous spoonful of the cauliflower puree on the plate, then set a few pieces of chicken + extra sauce on top.

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