1/2 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 cremini mushrooms, sliced
12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
12 white mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the orzo. Cook until al dente.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
Return the skillet to the heat, reduce the heat a bit, and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Once the mushrooms are brown, season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic, thyme, and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the shallots are wilted.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 minutes more. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar, and cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until thickened.
Slice the chicken on an angle. Add the chicken back to the skillet to heat up with the parsley, about 1 minute.
To serve, pile the orzo on dinner plates and top with the sliced chicken and sauce.
Just thinking about this dinner makes my mouth water. Doesn't just the name of it make you want to eat it right now? "Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce?" I know I want some and I just ate 2 helpings of it. It definitely lives up to its name. It is so good. Just a touch of balsamic vinegar and cream in a thick mushroom sauce with grilled sliced chicken goes so well with the orzo. I can't wait for tomorrow's leftovers :)
As always, I changed the recipe to say dried thyme instead of fresh (I got a big thing of it from Sam's and it's lasted me quite a while). I used half-and-half because I had some from the cider vinegar chicken with smashed potatoes. Other than that, the only change I would make would be to slice your mushrooms while the chicken is cooking instead of before. That way, you're making better use of your time (unless, like me, you need to wash up some dishes during that time).