Monday, February 22, 2010

Pseudo-"Cream" Sauce: Chicken in Mushroom Sauce!

One of the hardest things about cooking dairy-free is not being able to have creamy sauces because, of course, they have cream in them.  That's why, every once in awhile, I have to ditch Joe and go eat a cheesy, creamy, super unhealthy pasta dish that would probably make a gluten-free, dairy-free eater sick just by looking at it. 

Don't tell him I told you that- he'll get jealous of my love affair with cheese.

(Psst... One time, when Joe was a kid and could still eat dairy, he asked his mom if his middle name could be "cheese" on his L.L. Bean backpack because he doesn't have a middle name.  Adorable.)

So anyways, a couple of months back, we tried this recipe for Chicken in Mushroom "Cream" Sauce from Carol at Simply...Gluten Free.  I actually found the recipe on because, funny thing, it's dairy free also!  It uses coconut milk instead of regular milk, so it gives that creamy texture while adding a delicious coconut flavor as well!  We tried it again last week and I dare say that it was even better than the first time.  Seriously, we ate our leftovers about an hour or two after eating it the first time.  Which sort of defeats the point of "leftovers."

We really like food, if you couldn't tell.  Especially mushrooms.

What you'll need...
  • Four boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth (GF or not - whatever you need)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Extra virgin olive oil
How to make it:

1)  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Since it's going to have the mushroom sauce over it, you don't need to worry about seasoning it too heavily.

2)  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook chicken breasts (about 5 minutes on one side, 3-4 on the other, depending on the thickness of your chicken).  When they are cooked through and browned on both sides, transfer to a plate and cover with tinfoil. 

3)  Add a little more oil to the pan (if needed) and turn heat down to low.  Add the chopped onions and cook until onions are soft and beginning to caramelize (only a few minutes; they will cook more later).

4)  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (don't let it burn!)  Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until browned and a little soft.

Pow!  Throw the mushrooms into the pan and stir!

This is what they will look like after cooking a little.
Courtney.  Do.  Not.  Eat.
It's so difficult to resist!
5)  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and cook for about a minute, until the chicken broth has reduced by half(ish).  You can also season with a little salt and pepper now, but I waited until after I added everything else. 

Sorry for the blurriness.
And for the lack of a pre-reduction picture.  I was conserving battery.

6)  Now it's time for the coconut milk; you're going to stir in one cup of it and heat for 2 minutes.

Don't be worried if you open your can and it looks like this:
It's supposed to be like that!  The first time I made this recipe, I had to Google whether this was normal.  I was really worried that the store had sold me bad coconut milk.

Just stir it...

And it will look like this!  No more chunks.
Chunks = bad.

Look at those bubbles! This sauce is almost ready.
I wish my camera could send smells because at this point, it smelled really good.

7)  Then you can add in fresh thyme (you can also add tarragon, as the original recipe says, but I don't like it.  I also don't like licorice, which is what tarragon tastes like to me).  At this point, you can check to see if it needs salt and pepper- just don't over-salt it, like I did.

See the little green thing in there?  It's thyme.
 Can't see it?  Just trust me. 

8)  Thoroughly mix together the other 2 tbsp of chicken stock with the 2 tbsp of cornstarch until there are no lumps.  Stir into the sauce and cook until it thickens.

Finished sauce!
Now it's time to eat, yum yum!

9)  To serve, spoon as much or as little sauce as you would like onto a chicken breast.  And here's the finished product: 

It was really tortuous to take this picture; all I wanted to do was EAT!

Recipe Review:

Man, is this recipe good.  It has MUSHROOMS and ONIONS and tastes slightly coconut-y too!  And I swear, your roommates will die from the smell of it; you'd better hide your leftovers, if you have any.  Even if you're not GF/DF, you need to try this recipe.  It is an A+++!

For next time...
  • If you like tarragon, use that too!  I've already stated my opinions...
  • If your name is Courtney and you used too much salt, use less salt next time
  • You can also serve this over rice or pasta; or, maybe you want to cut up the chicken and make it the entire sauce for the pasta!  An interesting idea...

I promise to make the pictures less blurry next time; anyone have any suggestions for a digital camera in terrible lighting?


  1. This looks so delicious, especially since I'm always looking for gluten/wheat free recipes.

    I'm not opposed to coconut milk (I don't eat dairy free but play around with it sometimes), but I suppose it would be fine to replace the coconut milk with cream?

  2. You probably could replace the coconut milk with cream (or half and half/whole milk). The coconut milk is a lot thicker than normal milk but cream would probably be the best sub. However, I would encourage the coconut milk... it does add another great flavor to the sauce.

  3. Fantastic! We added a few tablespoons of white truffle oil for some added kick! Thank you very much for the recipe!

  4. I frequently make sauces with coconut cream (rather than coconut milk). Ayam brand makes both, each are 100% coconut, which is great.

    Re the lumps: you're supposed to give the can a good shake before you open it - the lumps will disappear!