Monday, January 2, 2017

Schnitzel Casserole in Thyme Mushroom Cream Sauce

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's celebration with family and friends. My first post of the new year is a chicken schnitzel and vegetable comfort casserole to help get you through the next winter months.

I grow two abundant herb gardens, one on our NYC terrace and one in Pennsylvania. I hate buying supermarket herbs outside of the growing season. In late autumn I try to pick and freeze whatever I can before the frost gets them.

However, if I don't have any fresh frozen on hand I will break down and buy fresh. It makes a big flavor difference. over using the dried version.

For this casserole recipe, chicken breasts are breaded and lightly fried, then topped with sauteed fresh mushrooms, leek and peppers. The dish is smothered in a thyme cream sauce, topped with cheese and finished off in the oven. 

The result is a hearty, warming filling winter dish packed with flavor. 

For those of you who have made a resolution to cut fat and calories, substitute, low sodium chicken brother and low or nonfat sour cream and cheese.

Schnitzel Casserole in 
Thyme Mushroom Cream Sauce

  • 10 oz mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup all-purpose flour divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1+1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 7 oz sour cream
  • 3oz shredded gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves plus a few sprigs for garnish.

  • Wash and clean mushrooms, pat them dry.
  • Slice the mushrooms and lay them out on a layer of paper towels to drain.
  • Wash and dry the red pepper, cut out the seeded center and cut the flesh into thin strips.
  • Trim and clean the leek carefully and cut into rings.
  • Whisk the eggs together and pour into a flat plate.
  • Spread the 1/3 cup all purpose flour out into another flat plate
  • spread the breadcrumbs out onto a third flat plate
  • Rinse the chicken breasts and use a kitchen mallet to pound them thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Working with one chicken breast at a time, dredge the breast in the flour, then coat with the egg on both sides and finish by dredging the breast in the bread crumbs.
  • Heat one tablespoon of the clarified butter in a large frying pan.
  • Fry the chicken breasts on both sides until they are browned.
  • Transfer them to a casserole dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Add the other tablespoon of clarified butter to the pan. When it has melted, add the mushroom slices to the pan and sautee until they start to soften.
  • Add the chopped leek and red pepper strips and mix to combine.
  • Sprinkle the tablespoon of all purpose flour over the top of the vegetables and saute briefly.
  • Add the Sour cream and the chicken stock and cook, stirring until everything has blended together. Mix in the fresh thyme leaves.
  • Pour the contents of the pan over the chicken breasts in the casserole dish.
  • Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 90 minutes.
  • Remove the foil from the casserole dish, sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for another 15 -30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and serve.

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