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Need help - chicken dinner

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Hi all,

I am new to posting around here but have been lurking for a while. I decided to post because I need some advice. My mother's birthday is Saturday and I am cooking dinner. She requested that I cook something that has "chicken, mushroom and cream." Sounds like chicken in mushroom and cream sauce to me. The problem I am having is with sides. I don't know what sort of sides to serve with something like this. Any ideas? What sort of a menu (appetizer and dessert) would compliment this dish?


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Welcome to egullet swelbo,
Yes! Welcome to the Society!
Goat cheese/herb crostini

Caesar salad

Chicken/mushroom Alfredo on your mom's favorite pasta (no need for sides), served with garlic bread?

Man, I wouldn't pass that menu up, ever.

But I take a general phrase like "chicken, mushroom and cream" as a challenge. How about:

Chicken thighs braised in stock, white wine, tomatoes and thyme (take the lid off and turn the thighs skin-side up for the last half hour, so the skin gets crispy)

Wild mushroom flan

For an additional side, maybe some seasonal vegetables: asparagus or thin slices of artichokes, fried. Good contrast in texture and flavor to the mains.

While you're getting the fresh veg, see if you can't find some south Georgia peaches or west coast cherries, or both. Make or buy some vanilla ice cream and put together a struesel topping. Add a little liqueur to pull it together.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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You could also roast a chicken (whole, or parts) and serve it over a mushroom risotto. Sauteed spinach or chard would make a nice side. I might start with bruschetta topped with tomatoes and basil, and end with a fruit cobbler or berry shortcake, if you can find good berries.

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I would probably go french with those flavors. If you are going to do chicken with a mushroom cream sauce (which sounds delicious to me) I would make sure that the rest of the menu was relatively light. Maybe a seafood appetizer, such as hazelnut shrimp in endive. Asparagus and parisienne gnocchi for sides, and for dessert a simple fruit tart. You could also do a simple green salad with some cheese too. Man, I want that meal right now.

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I personally would favor something simple for a birthday dinner so that cooking is not the focus of the evening.

Salad of arugula with mustard vinagrette and parmesan cheese.

Modified chicken marsala - Fry cullets, then make pan sauce of shallots, mushrooms, marsala with cream instead of stock.

Sides: grilled polenta, spinach wilted with garlic.

I think the idea of a fruit tart or a fruit dessert suggested by other posters is perfect, I don't know how to improve on it.

Edited by Dr. Teeth (log)
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White wine poached chicken breasts served with a tarragon cream sauce. I like the mushroom risotto idea, although it might feel too heavy if your weather is hot. Regular rice cooked in stock with added sliced butter-sautéed mushrooms (wild or regular) and maybe peas could be a good accompaniment. (Old-fashioned! but pretty on the plate)

Spinach or mesclun salad with mustard vinaigrette to start.

I'm a traditionalist, and would be pretty disappointed with a birthday dinner at home that didn't include a cake! but perhaps your mother is not. A fruit tart would be nice, or a chocolate silk tart in a short crust, with berries if there are any where you are. If a cake is in order, then chocolate inside, white buttercream icing, and raspberries or strawberries.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Here's my chicken birthday dinner idea:

How about roasting your whole (brined) chicken on high heat and then when it's about 1/2 way through roasting some baby beets -- when beets are 1/2 way through take some of the chix fat and roast mixture of whole mushrooms (white, crimini, oyster, etc) with some thyme in a separate pan.

When mushrooms are done, remove them to small saucepan add some chix broth, reduce the broth by half then add some fresh cream and a splosh of cream sherry, fresh pepper and some more fresh thyme leaves.

Remove beets, and make salad with baby greens and goat cheese; make basamic vinaigrette using some of the still warm roasted chix fat in lieu of oil and a small dollop of dijon mustard.

I'd personally keep the side dish simple -- some nicely mashed potatoes with lashings of butter of course. Spoon slices of chix with mushroom mixture.

For this dinner, I'd do a fresh Angel food cake alongside some lemon curd and creme fraiche with some berries scattered about.

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