There is nothing quite like creamed chicken to bring back memories of my childhood. I remember the almost overbearing excitement I would have when my mother would cook this meal. I would skip and slide down our wood planked hallways hoping to sneak a taste from the pot. (I’m pretty sure on more than one occasion I probably tripped over my flailing limbs, or got told to “Stop running inside!” We are civil people after all.) I’m not sure she understood my deep affection for this particular meal, but I can always call back to mind how our home would fill with the most incredible of aromas.
It was a warm, comforting smell that made you feel all cozy inside. You know how in the winter when you burrow yourself deep down inside the softest of blankets and in your half awake state you are in complete bliss? That is the feeling I get when I smell or consume this meal.
Always tender boiled (yes I said boiled) chicken breasts bathed in a light béchamel sauce flavored with salt, black pepper and fresh parsley. All of this served a top the nuttiness of brown rice, and you have yourself a full out comfort food winner.
Of course as all things do, the recipe for this has changed several times. I have made it precisely the way my mother taught me, and I have occasionally made some variations here and there depending on the ingredients I have on hand. I have added nutmeg, or completely omitted it. Commonly, I add smoked paprika which while adding richness and a deeper tone to the meal compliments both the heartiness of the chicken and the earthiness of the mushrooms. I’ve also added a touch of white truffle oil to enhance the flavor, but the meal is completely enjoyable without.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-2 cups warm milk
-¼ cup butter
-¼ cup flour
-¾ teaspoon salt (you can add more or less depending on your taste)
-¾ teaspoon black pepper
-½ teaspoon smoked paprika
-¼ cup fine chopped parsley
-6 basil leaves chopped
-1 package mushrooms sliced (you can use Portobello or White)
-1 tsp olive oil
-1 cup rice
-2 cups water
-1 tsp coconut oil
Directions (for chicken, mushrooms and sauce):
- Bring a medium to large pot of water to a boil. Add your chicken breast to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat your two cups of milk I like to use a 2 cup glass measuring cup for this and put in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. If you are opposed to microwaves you can always heat the milk up slowly in a small pot (Use caution when heating milk on the stove. If you heat too quickly it will separate). Set the hot milk aside.
- In a medium pot melt the ¼ cup of butter on low heat. Once the butter has completely melted add the flour, whisking it in slowly. When it is fully combined with the butter you can then begin adding the hot milk. You will want to pour the milk slowly into the pan, whisking the entire time. If you pour too fast you will not wind up with a smooth, velvety sauce. Rather your sauce will clump, and you will either have sad faces at the dinner table or have to remake. Once all the milk has been combined you will want to leave the pot on low heat, but continue to stir occasionally. When you have reached your desired consistency, remove the pot from the heat and add in the salt, pepper, paprika, parsley and basil. Give it another good stir and then let it rest.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add your sliced mushrooms and 1 tsp olive oil. I generally buy whole mushrooms at the store and slice myself (because I oddly enjoy the process and like how I can control the thickness) but you can certainly buy pre-sliced to cut down on the time. Sautee the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. They are done when tender and slightly browned. Remove from the heat and add the mushrooms to your béchamel sauce.
- Once your chicken is cooked. Remove from the water and let cool enough to handle. I generally cut mine into ½ inch cubes, but it is also good shredded. Add this to the pot containing the sauce and mushrooms. Stir to combine.
Directions for Rice:
- Heat 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add 1 cup rice and 1 tsp coconut oil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- Fluff rice with fork.
Enjoy! This is excellent as leftovers and is great as a large make ahead for meals during the week.
As always eat healthy stay fit,