17 February 2014
Zürcher geschnetzeltes with chicken
I had never heard of Zürcher geschnetzeltes until last week, when someone mentioned it randomly on ravelry. The translation is just "sliced meat Zurich style." That's not very descriptive, so it's a good thing the reality is much more enticing: a rich and fragrant dish of sliced veal and mushrooms in a white wine and cream sauce. SUPER EXCITING. This clearly needed to happen, if only so I could pretend that it's actually winter here in drought-ridden California.
There was just one catch. Our usual grocery store didn't have any veal--and honestly there isn't a lot of red meat happening at our house anyway. So I decided to make this with chicken.
Yes, chicken, arguably the most boring of all meats! And yet, I like chicken, and I thought it would be excellent in a white wine and cream sauce with mushrooms and sage. What better way to avert the biggest problem with chicken--dryness--than to smother it in sauce? With some attention to size and cooking time, it worked out very well.
I made the mistake of not thinking about what I was going to serve this with until it was entirely finished and ready to go. Evidently the traditional Swiss accompaniment is rösti, which would be pretty amazing. A steaming spoonful of egg noodles or hot mashed potatoes would also work well. But I ate mine all by itself, with a little bread to sop up the copious sauce left on the plate, and was still well content.
Since I'm the only meat-eater in the house, I just made enough for me, but you can double or triple at your leisure.
Zürcher geschnetzeltes with chicken
Adapted from traditional Zürcher geschnetzeltes.
1/2 lb chicken, skinned (about 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs)
flour to coat
butter AND olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
10 sage leaves
12-14 large button or brown mushrooms
1/2-2/3 cup of dry white wine (enough to deglaze)
2/3 cup cream
salt, pepper, paprika
Start by slicing a chicken breast (or whatever cut you like--deboned thighs would certainly be easier to keep moist here!) into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. Toss to coat in a couple tablespoons of flour, tapping off any excess.
Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed saute pan on high. Add a pat of butter and a small slug of olive oil. When the butter foams, add your chicken pieces in one layer. Sear quickly for about three to five minutes per side. While you're waiting, cut your onion into thin half-moons and your garlic into slices. Slice your sage leaves into thin strips, reserving a few leaves for garnish.
When your chicken has a beautiful golden-brown crust on both sides, remove to a plate. Don't worry about the meat being fully cooked at this point! You just want a nice sear.
Turn the heat down a touch, add another bit of butter and olive oil to your pan, and throw in your onion, garlic, and sage. Saute for about five minutes, or until the onion has begun to soften.
Cut your mushrooms into wide slices and add them to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Then add your wine to the pan, stirring to deglaze. Finally, add your pieces of chicken and their juices, as well as some salt, pepper, and paprika.
Mix everything together and cook until your chicken is done, being careful not to overcook. Mine was ready in about five minutes, but the timing is going to depend on exactly how big your pieces are. Cut a thick piece in half to check.
At the last minute, add your cream to the pan. Stir together and cook for another minute, or until warmed through and just beginning to bubble.
Voila! A beautiful dish of tender chicken and mushrooms in a savory cream sauce! Serve over the noodle, potato, or grain of your choice, or just fill up a bowl and eat it by itself.
You clearly want a green vegetable of some type on the side if you can possibly swing it. My first choice would be a big pile of simple steamed spinach with butter and salt. I wouldn't say no to a big spoonful of baby peas, either. And a big crispy salad is always a nice contrast. It's all good--just get something green in your face.
This was rich enough that I couldn't eat it all at once, and thus I can report that it's also excellent eaten cold out of the fridge the next morning. Hooray, leftovers for breakfast!
What thick, hearty stovetop dinners are warming you up this winter?