Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
I’ve always loved a combination of kalamata and green olives in this dish because their tart saltiness plays nicely against the rich, creamy mushroom sauce. However, almost any variety would work well, just keep an eye out for pits.
The chicken is a great agent for the graceful preparation of mushrooms; you’ll surely find yourself scooping up every last bit of mushroom with your fork. In a spell of culinary enthusiasm, I often also add some red wine to the sauce for an extra kick. This recipe is easily adaptable for smaller or larger parties and as an added bonus, any leftover sauce goes great atop other vegetables, meats or rice.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup olives, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
4 toothpicks, optional
1 ½ teaspoons each salt and pepper, plus more to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Rinse and pat dry chicken. Cut a pocket in the thickest part of the breast and stuff with ¼ cup of chopped olives. If olives spill out, pierce with a toothpick to keep closed. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and sear chicken 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and finish in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the breast.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil with butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms, stirring frequently for an additional 5 minutes. Add cream, garlic and thyme to pan and reduce heat to low. Let simmer until sauce begins to thicken, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove chicken from oven and discard toothpicks. Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken and serve.