September 21, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

I made some chicken tetrazzini over the weekend to FINALLY get a wedding, baby, and I'm-so-sorry-everything-is-so-late present (the food) to Stud's cousin and our neighbor.  Food always makes up for tardiness, right??  Chicken tetrazzini is a good comfort food to me, so I thought someone who is exhausted with a new baby might love some as well.  So they got half and we got half for our dinner since the recipe (from Cooks Illustrated, yet again) feeds 6-8.  This is also a picture from CI since Stud and I scarfed it down before taking a pic even crossed my mind.

Chicken Tetrazzini
For the topping:
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used stale french bread)
1 1/2 T. melted butter
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
For the Tetrazzini:
6 T. unsalted butter
3 c. white mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
3/4 lb spaghetti (I probably did closer to a pound)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 c. chicken stock (which is just short of one can, so I just added water until I hit 2c)
3 T. sherry
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 t. lemon juice
2 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
2 c. frozen peas
4 c. chicken meat (I used the meat from six boneless thighs)

To make the topping, mix the breadcrumbs, melted butter and salt and bake for 15-20 mins in a 350 degree oven.  Once they are cooled, mix with the Parmesan cheese.

To make the tetrazzini, melt 2 T. of butter in a large skillet.  Add the onions and mushrooms and saute for 12-15 minutes until all the moisture has cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. These can also be omitted if you do not have a taste for them.  My bother and I would refuse to eat this with the mushrooms and onions, so they were never included when my mom made it.  I have since learned. Transfer the mushrooms and onions to a small bowl.  Meanwhile, cook your pasta.  Reserve 1/4c. of the cooking water, drain, and return to pot with reserved liquid.

Back in the skillet, melt the remaining 4 T. butter and add the flour and whisk continuously until the mixture turns a golden color.  Good flavor there.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for 3-4 minutes until it begins to thicken.  While it's simmering, chop up the chicken and add it to the bowl with the onions and mushrooms.  Turn off the heat on the skillet and add the sherry, Parmesan, nutmeg, 1/2t. salt, lemon juice and thyme.  Add the sauce, mushrooms, onions, peas and meat to the spaghetti and mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased 13x9 pan (I used an 8x8 and probably an 7x10) and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top.  At this point, you can let the mixture cool and throw it into the freezer.  Or you can pop it into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes and enjoy it immediately.  If you freeze it, I would bring it to room temperature before you bake it and cook it for 20-25 minutes.

So tasty, so good.  Stud and I barely had enough left for my lunch yesterday.  This recipe has quite a few steps, but Stud had a ton of homework and I was able to make it all on my own (minus on moment where I needed an extra hand to stir the pasta, but that was more my bad planning).  And it all pays off.  Such a good warm your belly comfort food. 

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