Sometimes simple really IS better. This recipe is incredibly simplistic and easy. With only four ingredients (I'm not counting salt, pepper and water - if you don't have these items in your kitchen, you're probably not EVER cooking your own meals), two if you, like me, consider the oil and butter negligible (NEVER do I not have olive oil and butter in the house), you can easily create a wonderful meal. Simple, easy chicken and mushrooms.
Since this recipe IS so simple, I prefer to spend the extra money for good chicken, locally-sourced if possible, or, at the very least, some that isn't plumped up with water or stuffed full of hormones or antibiotics. Sure, this requires a trip to somewhere like Whole Foods, Earth Fare, or Fresh Market, but the difference in flavor is definitely apparent. Also, buy your mushrooms whole and then slice them yourself - usually the pre-sliced ones are sliced too thin for this recipe. You don't even need "fancy" mushrooms - the plain old button mushrooms are perfect!
Side note: NEVER use water to clean mushrooms; simply brush the "growing medium" off with a soft-bristled brush, or use a SLIGHTLY damp paper towel.
This recipe is all about K.I.S.S.; it's uncomplicated, doesn't require a ton of fancy ingredients, and only asks that you have a few basic cooking skills. All you need is an ovensafe skillet, preferably a heavy-bottomed stainless steel one, or (of course) cast iron; definitely DO NOT use a nonstick skillet - so much of the chicken's flavors comes from a good sear, which you just cannot get with a nonstick skillet.
Choose simple side dishes to compliment this dish - I'd recommend simple roasted potatoes, or maybe just some fresh green beans. Or both!
Simple Chicken & Mushrooms
adapted from FoodWishes.com
2 large skin-on, boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
8oz thickly-sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
Season both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sometimes these breasts come with skin-on, but aren't boneless; simply debone the chicken yourself (I promise this isn't difficult).
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan (cast iron or stainless steel). Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, skin-side down, and let sear for 5 minutes. Don't touch the chicken - you WANT that sear, and moving it around isn't going to make that happen :)
Flip the chicken, add the mushrooms to the pan along with a generous pinch of salt, and cook for another 5 minutes. Place the pan inside a 400° oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°.
Remove the chicken from the pan, place on a plate, and loosely tent with foil. Return the skillet to the stove and saute the mushrooms over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and deglaze. Cook until the liquid has reduced by 1/2, about 5 minutes. Add any juices that have accumulated on the chicken plate along with the butter.