Mushroom-Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts served over Braised French Green Lentils with Roasted Vegetables
Chicken is a great staple for dinner and one of the few “meats” we eat, so I well understand the challenges in coming up with new ways to roll it out. Fortunately, mushrooms are a favorite in our home and a perfect pairing for chicken. Here I wanted to do something a little different with this ingredient since I often just sauté them or use them as a stuffing or soup additive.
Crusting a chicken breast is super easy and gives it a great pop of flavor and element of texture… not to mention a flavorful “seal” that keeps it moist and succulent. These shitake and cremini mushrooms are roasted to perfection and then combined with a bit of parmesan cheese that gives them that little added bit of saltiness to ensure a great flavored crust.
And… because we are big on sauces, sautés, and other broth-y twists that lend great flavor and texture to what can often be seen as boring or bland (chicken?)… a soupy element is the perfect complement.
With the arrival of Fall, lentils are a favorite go-to for us. And these little French green ones are delicious. We serve up a variety of lentils in our home (red, brown, etc.) but these “lentilles du Puy” as they are known, are just great as a base to a well-seasoned chicken breast. Enhanced with roasted eggplant and zucchini, and “souped” up with Pacific Foods chicken broth, they are even better!
Given our sometimes varying palates, this dish can easily incorporate mushrooms and go meatless, with a little sprinkle of parmesan to top it off. However, I hope you give this crusted chicken breast a try… it will please even the most robust of meat-lovers as it has a great hearty, rich, and satisfying flavor that wraps you up and nestles you happily into Fall.
Recipe serves 6 to 8 (4-ounce chicken portion)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick slices (approximately 1 pound)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4" thick slices
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup minced red onion
1 carrot, minced (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 celery rib, minced (approximately 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 cup red wine
5 cups Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (more, to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided (more, to taste)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (each about 8 ounces)
1 pound cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, roughly chopped
3/4 pound shitake mushrooms, stems discarded, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 cup flour (for dredging)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
Cooking instructions:Instructions for Lentils:
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place zucchini and eggplant on non-stick baking sheet and drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and season vegetables. Place in oven for 15 minutes (about 3/4 way through, turn vegetables). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Sauté red onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft. Add garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add lentils, 4 cups chicken broth and red wine; bring to boil and then reduce heat to lower to simmer. Finely chop roasted eggplant and zucchini and add to lentils; continue simmering for approximately 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add red wine vinegar. Add additional chicken stock, if needed, to achieve a soupy consistency. Add additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Instructions for Crusted Chicken:
1. Place mushrooms on a non-stick baking sheet (two, if necessary); toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil to lightly coat. Place mushrooms in 425 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and lightly season mushrooms while still warm. Set aside.
2. Prep chicken by lightly pounding each half breast with a meat mallet (not a tenderizer) to uniform thickness (about 3/4" thickness) to allow for even cook-through. Then cut each breast halve into half to make 8 portions (each about 4 ounces). Mix 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, lightly season both sides of each piece. Set aside.
3.Turn cooled mushrooms out onto cutting board and mince. In a large, shallow dish combine minced mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Set aside.
4. In a second shallow dish, add flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix to combine; set aside.
5. In a third shallow dish, break egg and whisk with fork. Place dishes in a row (flour, then egg, then mushroom mixture) to form a dredging line. Place a large platter or dish at end to received dredged chicken. Begin individually "crusting" chicken pieces by first dredging piece in flour (coating BOTH sides) and then shaking off excess; dip floured chicken into egg mixture (just dipping ONE SIDE ONLY); then place EGG-SIDE DOWN INTO MUSHROOM MIXTURE, pressing down well to coat entire surface. Place coated chicken onto platter, mushroom side up. (note: chicken can be reserved like this in fridge for up to two hours before cooking, if desired).
6. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Place chicken (four at a time), MUSHROOM SIDE UP, in pan. Sear chicken for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn chicken MUSHROOM SIDE DOWN and sear for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to large baking sheet MUSHROOM SIDE UP; set aside. Continue searing remaining pieces of chicken. Add to baking sheet and place in 425 degree F. oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Ladle lentil mixture into a shallow bowl or dinner plate with raised side. Top with Mushroom-Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Serve immediately.