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Vanilla Scented Chicken Scaloppine with Mushrooms

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This recipe (with some adaptations) comes to us from Jerry Di Vecchio, the woman who helped change the way the West eats. By West, I mean the Western United States. A gracious and amazing woman, Jerry spent her entire career working at Sunset Magazine, and many of those years as the editor/director of the food division. She also inadvertently launched my career as an international expert in vanilla. But that’s a story for another time. Instead, this easy-to-make, delicious entree is one you’re going to want in your collection of favorites, whether for a weeknight dinner or for a special meal with guests.

The primary way I changed the recipe is to add more mushrooms and more broth as I personally love the flavors of simple reduction sauces that can tie the entree with a grain, potatoes, or even pasta. It also expands the volume of the entree. If you have leftovers, the extra sauce will keep the chicken moist whether you warm it in the microwave or on the stove.

Jerry recommends an unoaked Chardonnay or other dry white wine for this recipe. That said, wines with oak carry flavors of vanilla due to the natural vanillin in the cask. Given I’m also adding a small amount of vanilla to the recipe, if you are using a Chardonnay with oak undertones, I think it will be just fine. You can also substitute 1/4 cup additional broth if you don’t want to use wine.

Vanilla Scented Chicken Scaloppine with Mushrooms
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Ingredients
  1. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use*
  2. 3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  4. 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 2/3 cup chicken broth
  6. 1-1/2 pounds boned, skinned, chicken thighs
  7. About 1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided.
  9. 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
  10. 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons butter. Add mushrooms, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer 5 minutes to allow juices to accumulate.
  2. Uncover and cook over high heat, stirring often, until juice evaporates and mushrooms brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and stir to release browned bits to pan. Pour into a small bowl, scraping pan well.
  3. Trim fat from thighs. Working with one thigh at a time, place on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece. Pound meat with a flat-surface mallet (you can use a rolling pin if you don't have a mallet) until about 1/4 inch thick. Pull of plastic and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining thighs.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and melt over high heat. Lay chicken pieces in pan (you may have to cook in batches). Cook until edges begin to turn white and bottom is lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. turn over and cook until meat is no longer pink in the center, 6 to 8 minutes total (cut to test), lifting to a platter as cooked. Cut into serving portions and cover with foil to keep warm.
  5. Pour mushrooms and broth into pan and add 1/4 cup parsley. Stir in wine, scraping to release brown bits. Immediately add remaining butter and stir rapidly until melted. Drain juice from cooked chicken into pan. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the broth slightly. Add vanilla and blend well. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Notes
  1. *If you are not using a non-stick frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil or other high quality oil to the butter when you first heat the pan. You will need to add additional oil when you cook the chicken.
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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
Patricia Rain
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