Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil is a dish with European flair that’s perfect for transitioning from summer to fall.
….Back from an amazing trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland my hubby and I took to celebrate our 20th anniversary which is today! We did a 14-day Rick Steves tour that was as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. We had a great time with great people and experienced so many great things!
Rick Steves is a leading authority on European travel and you may recall the “Rick Steves’ Europe” series on PBS some years back. Before my husband and I were married, I lived in a little one-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee (I only had five channels on my old TV because I couldn’t afford cable–and many other things for that matter). I used to watch his show every Saturday morning and live vicariously through him, dreaming and hoping that one day I would get to experience at least one trip to Europe in my lifetime. Paris was my dream trip! However, I would happily go wherever I had the opportunity to go.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed numerous trips to Europe–this being my tenth time. And…I’ve been blessed to get to Paris four times!
Before we left, we had a crazy time trying to come up with ways to use up our late summer produce. That’s when Chicken Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil was born.
When deciding what to cook this time of year, I often feel torn between the seasons. The calendar shows that summer is over, but the weather will continue to be nice for at least another month or two. I mean…it’s 84 degrees today here! Although it’s still warm outside, it’s hard to resist hearty, cold-weather comfort food, and we’re still enjoying some fresh summer produce from our garden.
Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil is a dish with European flair that’s perfect for transitioning from summer to fall. It has the summer produce we were trying to use up before our trip such as fresh tomatoes and basil. This dish also incorporates cool-weather elements such as braising for the cooking technique, red wine and mushrooms.
I used pinot noir because it’s a light to medium-bodied dry red wine and doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of white-meat chicken. If you prefer dark-meat chicken, pinot noir is still fine, or you could use a more full-bodied wine such as merlot.
Dried herbs, such as the dried oregano and thyme used here, should be added early in the cooking process. Fresh herbs, such as basil, are best added at the very end.
Cover the dish tightly to minimize evaporation of the braising liquid before placing it in the oven. I like to place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper over the pot before placing the lid on the pot.
Although cremini (baby portobello), oyster and shiitake mushrooms are often referred to as “wild,” they are cultivated. Whether you wash mushrooms or not is personal preference. Mushrooms already have a lot of water in them, so it’s difficult for them to absorb more water. If you prefer washing them like I do, only wash whole mushrooms (not sliced), do it shortly before using them and blot them dry with a paper towel.
Mashed potatoes or polenta would be perfect on the side to soak up this rich, winey sauce. Just add a green veggie and you’ve got the perfect dish to transition from summer into fall.
Now….if only my ears will clear……
Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil is a dish with European flair that's perfect for transitioning from summer to fall.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 split chicken breasts, (bone in, skin on)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, halved
- 3 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 1 cup drained, canned diced tomatoes)
- 1 cup dry red wine, preferably pinot noir
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (cremini, oyster and shiitake), sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken breasts with salt and black pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Place chicken breasts skin side down in the hot oil and brown 4-5 minutes or until golden. Turn and brown the other side approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the Dutch oven and add onion. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and cook 1 minute.
Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the chicken broth, oregano and thyme and return to a boil. Place chicken skin side down in the pot, cover tightly and place in the oven. Cook 1 hour, turning once or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender. Transfer Dutch oven to the stovetop.
Combine 1 tablespoon butter with flour. Add to pot with chicken and bring to a simmer to thicken.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat in a skillet or saute pan. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to pot with chicken, stir in chopped fresh basil, adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Heat covered in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through (30-35 minutes).
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool thoroughly, place in an airtight container and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat covered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.