About Johanna

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Chicago/Aurora, IL, United States
I am just like so many busy moms out there. I want to create great meals for me and my family where the food brings us together at the end of a long and hectic day. I want to empower moms to feel like they are able to make Great Everyday Meals by using simple, accessible, and inexpensive ingredients and basic cooking techniques. It’s more about family and less about slaving away in the kitchen cooking. I have been a restaurant industry professional for about 10 years and have a great passion for cooking. I will share tips, recipes and techniques that I have learned to arm everyday cooks with the foundation to simple yet great tasting cooking! Johanna M. Cook

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken w/ Mushroom Gravy


So, a staple in any kitchen should be chicken. I always buy what's on sale, leg quarters, thighs, drumsticks...whatever, it's a protein you can cook so many ways and very affordable. I especially love the bone-in breast. It's less expensive from it's boneless counterpart and has far less chances of coming out dry and is more flavorful because the bone helps it stay moist and has tons of flavor. The problem with chicken is that it's known to be the boring meat. My family and I love fried chicken dipped in gravy, especially from a well-known fried chicken chain now offering grilled options for the health conscious. My variation cooks the chicken in the oven and adds mushrooms to the gravy because frankly, I love mushrooms and it gives it a little gourmet twist. Here's a great recipe I made for dinner last night and it was a hit...even with the kids.


Chicken w/ Mushroom Gravy

1 Whole chicken - precut to eight pieces or 4 bone-in chicken breasts
1/2 of a LG green bell pepper - diced
1 medium spanish (or white) onion - diced
1 80z container of whole white button mushrooms - slice
2 TBL spoons of flour
2.5 cups of chicken stock (if no chicken stock, use water with 1/2 of a chicken buillion cube)
2 TBL of kosher salt
Pepper
1 tsp of dried oregano
2 dried bay leaves
Secret Ingredient : 1 TBL of Kikkoman soysauce...YES soysauce!
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Heat a 14" sauce pan with vegetable oil on high heat. I used my fave pot that I use for everything from frying to making stews. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Use as little or as much pepper to your taste. Brown the chicken SKIN SIDE DOWN. The point is to simply brown the pieces until it's golden and crispy, not to cook it all the way. Once all the chicken pieces are golden brown, place the chicken pieces on a cookie sheet and roast it in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 140 degrees. (BUY A MEAT THERMOMETER! I promise you'll use it time and time again!)

Turn down the heat on the sauce pan immediately to medium to low-medium heat. Add the diced green peppers and onions with 1 tsp of salt 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of dried oregano & bay leaves. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for another minute and until all the veggies are coated with the flour. Add chicken stock and turn heat up to medium-high heat until the liquid is boiling. This is a very important step, because the flour will not thicken the gravy unless brought to this boiling point first.

Once the sauce hits it's boiling stage, turn the heat back down to medium and add sliced mushrooms and soysauce. The soysauce is an unexpected & unusual ingredient but like worchershire, it gives the gravy an great depth and makes you just go..."Hmmm, what is that?" I'll tell you, my husband was surprised when I told him I put soysauce on his gravy! Keep the gravy at low heat until all the vegetables have become tender and has incorporated with your gravy. When the chicken is cooked all the way through, plate and pour as much or as little gravy over the top as you desire.

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