Chicken and Swiss Chard in Cider-Cream Sauce
It’s so nice to sit down to a special dinner on a weeknight. And by special, I mean a meal that’s good enough to serve company on a Saturday night. Lovely greens, mushrooms, and the simplest cider sauce this side of France accompany chicken thighs tender enough to make Julia Child swoon. I’m sure she smacked her lips many times over a dish such as this, and so will you.
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 8 ounces (230 grams) cremini or button mushrooms
- 1 1/2 pound (680 grams) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) apple cider or apple juice
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
On a large cutting board, chop the onion and garlic; transfer them to a medium bowl.
Remove the ribs from the chard leaves, chop them, and add them to the bowl. Chop the leaves, trim and slice the mushrooms, and set them aside in separate piles.
Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown it, about 3 minutes (if it sticks, give it another minute). Flip it over and brown the other side, another 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. It won’t be cooked through at this point.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the onion mixture, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper to the pan and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until they wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the cider and nestle the chicken into the vegetables. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cream and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over it all. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if it needs it.
Divide the chicken and vegetables among heated plates and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve hot.
It’s That Easy: I do love flavorful chicken thighs, but if you’d like to supplant them with breasts, that is your call. The cooking time will be about the same as long as the breasts aren’t super big and thick. If they are thick, just slice the breasts in half hor izontally, making them thinner, and proceed with the recipe.
Extra-Hungry Kids? Add a few diced apples along with the onion mixture and serve with precooked frozen brown rice or pasta.
Adult Taste Buds? Serve the children’s portions, then stir a Tbsp of apple brandy into the saucy vegetables in the pan.
In the Glass: This creamy dish is looking for a crisp, dry Chenin Blanc. South Africa has many to choose from in the weeknight price range. Look for a bottle from Mulderbosh or Bellingham.
Reprinted from “One Pan, Whole Family” by Carla Snyder with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018.