Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
The phrase “cream of mushroom” has a staid reputation in the culinary world, thanks to canned soup’s role as a star ingredient in old-fashioned casseroles, sauces and cafeteria-style fare. But here, let’s praise homemade mushroom sauce for what it is: delicious and easy.
With few ingredients—mushrooms, stock, wine, cream and a member of the onion family—creamy mushroom sauce packs a lot of flavor and fits neatly into our eight-ingredient shopping list for this column. Here, we top pan-seared chicken and egg noodles with a quick version made with a mix of oyster, enoki and maitake (hen of the wood) mushrooms for a warming weeknight dish.
The ingredient list is flexible: Use whichever mushrooms suit your budget, and buy store-bought rotisserie chicken if you want to save time. I used tarragon as a garnish because I had some in the fridge, but you should be able to substitute parsley or thyme without tipping the wine pairing.
You have a large playing field of wines from which to choose. A white Bordeaux and unoaked Chardonnay were totally acceptable tablemates with the food. This might be a good time to experiment with a fino sherry, if you’re inclined; the oxidized character will go nicely with the mushrooms. If you’re looking for a red, the earthy character of a Cabernet Franc from the Loire also complemented the mushrooms. In our tasting, however, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley was the favorite. The acidity and citrus characteristics of the wine were a solid counterpoint to the rich sauce.
Pair with a Sauvignon Blanc from France such as David Girard Sancerre Domaine de Champarlan 2011 (89 points, $20)
Total time: 45 minutes
Approximate food cost: $42
1. In a large sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then place them in the pan, skin-side down and cook until the skin is golden-brown, around 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve.
2. Add the sliced leeks to the pan that held the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, around 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, around 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, then add the stock. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan, skin side up, and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done, around 15 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook to the instructions on the back of the package. Strain the noodles into a bowl and dress with olive oil and reserve.
4. Remove the chicken from the mushroom sauce and reserve. Turn the heat to low and stir the cream into the mushroom mixture, and continue cooking, letting the sauce thicken, around 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt. To serve, place the noodles in a bowl, top with the sauce and two pieces of chicken and garnish with the tarragon. Serves 4.