I love making meals from scratch. Having control over every ingredient is not only empowering, but it also enables me to truly customize any dish I make to fit my needs. There are days we all run into, however, where we raid our refrigerator and pantry and come up short of the necessary ingredients for that special marinade or sauce we had in mind. It is usually in those moments when I am reminded of how valuable canned goods can be.
There are many canned items out there that offer great flavor and even freshness to dishes when paired with the right ingredients. One that is a recurring go-to when looking to complete certain meals has become one of my favorite canned items — cream of mushroom soup.
Until I met the Texan I ultimately married, cream of mushroom soup was nowhere on my radar. And then one day he made a pot roast inspired by the Sunday suppers his mother used to make when he was growing up. One can of cream of mushroom soup along with a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs was all he added, and the end result was this creamy, decadent sauce that in no way tasted like it came from the shelf of a grocery store.
I have made MANY cream sauces in my day, often starting with a béchamel or just with heavy cream. I’ll add whatever cheese fits the dish — parmesan, pecorino, gorgonzola, goat, mascarpone — the list goes on. But the other day, I went into my kitchen searching for something to amp up the chicken breast I was plotting to make. I found no cream, only a little bit of grated pecorino and a can of cream of mushroom soup. What happened next is what I share with you today.
My very easy recipe for Cream of Mushroom Marsala Chicken with Broccoli is an example of taking a canned good and elevating its stature with an eclectic and flavorful supporting cast. Ingredients from France, Italy and Mexico join hands in this dish to create a sauce that will make you forget the base of it came from a can.
So next time you are thinking about dinner and you want something flavorful in under an hour, put your faith in a can. Rock out this recipe and forever change the way you regard cream of mushroom.
Cream of Mushroom Marsala Chicken
(recipe serving size – 3-4 people)
For the chicken:
3 chicken breasts
2 tsp herbes de provence
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tb olive oil
Coat the chicken with 1 tb of the olive oil and the spices. Heat 1 tb of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sear the seasoned chicken breasts for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set the poultry aside.
For the sauce:
1 can cream of mushroom
1/2 cup marsala wine
2 poblano peppers, petite dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tb butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
In the same pan you cooked the chicken, sauté the peppers in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Sauté for another minute. Add the marsala wine and return the chicken to the pan. Lower the heat slightly and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream of mushroom, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
For the broccoli:
2 pounds broccoli florets (frozen)
Following the instructions on the bag, prepare the broccoli on the stove or in the microwave while the chicken cooks. Cover to keep warm.
Putting it all together:
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for garnish and heat (optional)
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken from the pan. Allow the chicken to rest for 1-2 minutes. Slice the chicken on the bias, return the chicken to the sauce and let simmer.
While the chicken is simmering, divide the broccoli between 3-4 bowls, depending on how many you are feeding. Lay equal amounts of chicken on top of each bed of broccoli. Pour the remaining sauce across the chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle each dish with the pecorino romano and the crushed red pepper flakes. Serve while warm.