creamy sherry skillet chicken with kale and mushrooms

"LA doesn't have seasons!!!" is a lie. culturally, they're very distinct, and imo, they're just based on the time change rather than the months. daylight savings season is "summer," where movies are screened outside, good tomatoes are growing, the air is hot, the layers come off, and everything is an event. "winter" is much more tame because the days are short and people lose the fire. patios dry out. hibernation happens. pool parties start to feel a little bit weird and out of place. (yeah, I know.)

weather-wise, though, things don't always line up. but we've been having (actually-normal, but by contrast to last year) "unseasonable" weather over the last few months, in that it rains 4 days out of the week and is colder than 60 most of the time and people are losing. their. shit. I didn't mind at first. now, idk.

pros:

  • soups and stews and braises are appropriate and life-affirming
  • christmas was v cozy
  • drought-tolerant plants look ~ a m a z i n g ~
  • patio got a bath
  • don't need to remember sunglasses
  • abandoned winter clothes aren't useless after all
  • excuse to watch more tv
  • nobody blames you for your hair looking like shit

cons:

  • literally no one remembers how to drive
  • tent cities everywhere
  • news feels even more depressing than usual
  • more spiders somehow?
  • "sweater weather" instagram captions
  • restaurants that normally rely on patio space are suddenly very crowded inside
  • white car currently sporting a full crust of evaporated rain sediment
  • tired

this freaky weather seems to trip the "cream sauce" wire in everybody's heads, though, and this particular recipe (which, to my knowledge, I made up on the spot on Tuesday at Sprouts, but who knows) hits that special spot and hits it hard. it's bright from the lemon yet earthy from the shrooms, made #healthyenough by using heaps of braised kale as the base. the parmesan-sherry cream sauce is cut with briny lil caper guys and thickened with a quick trick that avoids the need for heavy cream entirely (keeping this in the green/clean/mean family of post-resolution 2017 eating goals).

it reminds me of a twisted, winter version of a classic piccata. you definitely want to make this tonight.

RECIPE

Effortful time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2

YOU NEED

  • 3/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin if uneven
  • 1 tbsp. flour (all purpose or plain)
  • 1 tbsp. grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp. salt (for chicken)
  • cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsps. ghee (or 2 tsp. butter)
  • Avocado oil spray, or other non-olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 large handfuls tuscan lacinato kale, chopped
  • 5 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
  • 1/8 cup dry sherry wine
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp. water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

MAKE IT

  1. Preheat the oven/toaster oven to 425°. Line an oven-safe dish with tinfoil.
  2. Arrange the mushroom caps in the dish and spritz with a few sprays of avocado (or whatever non-olive) oil. Salt and pepper them. Roast, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a skillet (I used enameled cast iron) over high heat. 
  4. Combine the flour and 1 tbsp. of parmesan on a plate. Salt and pepper each chicken breast and then dredge in this mixture, evenly coating both sides.
  5. Add ghee to the skillet, and lay in the dredged chicken. It will probably get pretty angry, but just leave it alone and turn on the vent hood. Sear for 4 minutes, then flip and do another 4. Transfer to a foil-lined plate and wrap em up.
  6. Add kale to the ghee left in the pan and cook down, until soft and reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and let fry until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute.
  7. Reduce heat to low-medium heat, then add the broth and H&H. Bring the sauce to a low, gentle boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the parmesan cheese and capers, stir, and allow sauce to simmer for about 2 minutes. 
  8. To thicken everything up, combine the cornstarch and water and dump right into the center. Stir quickly and the sauce should react almost immediately.
  9. Stir the now-finished mushrooms back into the pan, lay in the chicken, squeeze in the lemon juice, and let simmer for one more minute. Top with extra capers and lemon slices.