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Chicken makes a lighter stroganoff

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Chicken Stroganoff

Cooking for a group of friends recently, I had a hankering for beef stroganoff but decided to prepare it with chicken instead. The lighter version with chicken is always delicious, but more so than ever when the weather turns cold. It’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner and special enough for a party. This recipe uses a scant 13 cup of cream for 6 people, so it’s not too rich.

Adding sour cream and heating it can sometimes cause it to curdle; the trick for a deliciously creamy sauce is to add flour and avoid boiling the sauce. I prefer using creme fraiche because it has a mild, sweet yet slightly nutty flavor and is less susceptible to curdling when heated.

If you can find wild mushrooms, feel free to use them instead of creminis. Making sure that the chicken is nicely browned will encourage a golden brown sauce. Tomato paste, Dijon mustard and a big squirt of lemon juice balance out the chicken broth and creme fraiche. Serve this on a bed of wide egg noodles in a shallow soup bowl for a pretty presentation.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.

Chicken Stroganoff

14 cup olive oil, divided

1 12 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cut into thin strips

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 leeks, light green and white part only, cleaned and finely chopped

1 pound brown (cremini) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon paprika

2 14 cups beef broth

13 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cooked noodles

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Heat 1 12 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet on high heat. Dry the chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Saute the chicken in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan, for about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides and just cooked through. Remove the chicken to a side bowl and reserve. Repeat with another 1 12 tablespoons oil and the remaining chicken.

Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the butter to the skillet. Saute the leeks until softened and lightly browned, for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until nicely browned, for about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute or until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the flour and paprika and cook for another minute. Add the broth, turn up the heat to high and scrape up the brown bits. Let it boil for a minute, and then reduce the heat to medium. Add the cream, mustard and lemon juice, and cook for another minute until nicely blended. Taste for seasoning.

Return the chicken and any juices to the sauce and cook for no more than 2 minutes or until just hot. Serve immediately over noodles and garnish with parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

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