Tender chicken breasts are sautéed with a decadent sauce of aged balsamic and succulent mushrooms. All this in less than 20 minutes; perfect for a weeknight dinner.
The secret to this speedy and delicious dish is buying (or slicing your own) very thin chicken breasts. I don’t know what they are doing to chickens these days but these Dolly Parton bird boobs are out of control. There is virtually no way to make a quick dinner with one of these behemoths. Even natural and organic chicken breasts are suspiciously large. Am I the only one who thinks there’s a chicken conspiracy going on here?
Regardless, it’s easy enough to bring these babies down to size that is more manageable for a quick weeknight dinner. Most grocery stores sell thin chicken breasts which are just breasts that are sliced in half horizontally to make two thinner pieces. If you can’t find them it’s simplicity itself to make them yourself.
Most of the time these breasts are too big to even pound into submission, so you’ll want to slice them in half horizontally.
- Place a breast on your cutting board.
- Put your hand flat on the breast palm down.
- Holding your knife parallel to the cutting board (you chop with the knife perpendicular to the board, here you turn it so the blade is flat towards the board) put the blade against the side of the chicken breast.
- Carefully slice it in half using a gentle sawing motion.
This is the same technique you use when you butterfly a steak or chop. This really needs pictures. Why didn’t I take pictures?!
I’m sure you can handle it. You’ll end up with two thin breasts that will cook in a fraction of the time! Approximately 7 minutes to be exact. The majority of the time in this recipe is taken up with sautéing the mushrooms to a delicious golden brown. Stir everything together and BOOM a delicious dinner is served.
Even if your kids don’t like mushrooms, they will probably still like the sauce without shrooms due to the perceived sweetness of the balsamic. Real balsamic doesn’t have any added sugar in it but it is made from grapes so has the sweetness of fruit. Plain old cheap balsamic has the bite of any other vinegar and sketchy ingredients added, but quality balsamic is a whole different experience.
Like Parmigiano-Reggiano and champagne, real Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena are controlled by consortias that ensure quality and traditional production. They are also ludicrously expensive and not sold in grocery stores. You can find high quality condimento in stores though. Look for labels that indicate it was made in Italy and that it doesn’t have any ingredients except for some combination of grape must (freshly pressed fruit juice that still contains skins, seeds and stems) and vinegar. If you can find one that’s aged or says IGP that’s best.
It’s easy to tell good balsamic from bad, just look at the price. Three bucks? Vinegar (which still has its uses). $10-20 is getting into the tasty stuff. Sweet, full bodied and almost syrupy in texture it adds complexity to a dish without needing a lot of time or ingredients. Perfect for a weeknight sauce!
Love balsamic? Here’s another dinner recipe featuring balsamic. Crispy Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes
Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms and Thyme
- 4 teaspoons fat of choice divided
- 4 thin sliced chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons good quality aged balsamic
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or whole grain mustard
- Heat 2 teaspoons fat in a 12 inch nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat until shimmering.
- Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook without moving for five minutes or until golden.
- Flip and cook until cooked through, about two minutes. Remove to plate and cover.
- Lower heat to medium. Add 2 teaspoons fat to pan and swirl to coat pan. Add mushrooms in an even layer. Allow mushrooms to cook 3-5 minutes until starting to brown, reducing heat if necessary. Flip and continue to sauté until evenly cooked about 5 more minutes.
- Add garlic and thyme and sauté about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth and scrape any fond from pan.
- Add balsamic and mustard and thoroughly blend in. Turn heat off.
- Add chicken back to pan and toss in sauce until well coated and chicken is warmed.