After more than 40 years in London, there are times when what I really want to eat is something "American". No, not hamburgers (or hot dogs or mac 'n cheese), but the kind of simple but delicious, old fashioned meal that might have appeared for a 6pm family supper when I was a child.
And no, again, not the can of Campbell's mushroom or celery soup poured over noodles and a pound of mince or tinned tuna so beloved of all women's magazines in the 50's and 60's.
When I'm in this mood, I turn to James Beard, the "Dean of American Cookery" whose "James Beard's American Cookery" deserves to be on every shelf right next to Julia Child.
It is this I search through for the perfect caramel layer cake or chicken pot pie, for baking powder biscuits with gravy or creamed ham on toast. Yum. All so not on trend and all the better for it.
Boned chicken breasts are among the things I keep in the freezer ready to defrost when needed. Sliced in half, stuffed with finely chopped, cooked mushrooms and sauteed in butter and white wine, they make one of those useful dishes you can eat on your own during the week or rustle up for friends as a special meal.
Sauteed stuffed chicken breasts with white wine
ALL YOU NEED: for 2 hungry people
2 chicken breasts, boned and cut in half
¼ pound mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Saute mushrooms in butter until they are very dark – about 12-15 minutes over medium to low heat. Salt and pepper to taste; they should be well seasoned.
Spoon some of the mushroom mixture on each slice of breast, fold in half and secure with wooden toothpicks or skewers. Roll in flour. Saute each breast in oil and butter about 4 minutes on each side over fairly high heat to brown them slightly. Season with more salt and pepper. Add half of the white wine and let it cook about 1 minute.
Cover the pan and let simmer 3-4 minutes. Turn the breasts, cover again and let simmer about 3 minutes more. Test the chicken for doneness, and if needed, simmer a few minutes more. Transfer the breasts to the platter, add the remaining wine to the pan, cook it down for a minute and add the chopped parsley. Rinse the pan well with the wine and pour it over the chicken breasts.
Serve with potatoes and a salad or green vegetable.
NOTE: Delia Smith has an Italian variation of this recipe on her website, using Marsala wine and porcini mushrooms. I am sure it is delicious!