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Creamy mushroom chicken.

We’ve finally outgrown the every day fried chicken staple, what a relief! My boys have developed a palate for a variety of cooking styles. They now love a good grill, appreciate my experiments with savory sauces, and have even grown to like the flavor of the many spices I’ve picked up on my travels.

This chicken recipe is a variation on butter chicken, the flavor profile is creamy, garlicky, and earthy with the shitake mushrooms. Chicken thighs are perfect in this recipe – they are firm and juicy and do not dry out like white meat tends to do. I brine the chicken pieces for an hour in salted cold water, but if there’s a time crunch, you can skip the brining part.

We are a household of 5 with two teenage boys, so 8 chicken pieces are just about right.


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cloves garlic, smashed flat
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil

For the creamy mushroom sauce:
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 cup sliced dried shitake mushrooms (soak overnight, keep the soaking  water)
1/2 cup mushroom water (from soaking the shitakes)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 brick, all-purpose cream
dash of red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn to pieces

Remove the chicken thighs from the brining liquid and drain, then pat dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Get the salt and pepper under the skin as well. Take half of the smashed pieces of garlic and insert them under the skin of the chicken. The flavor of garlic will permeate throughout the chicken as it cooks.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Swirl in 1 Tbsp. olive oil to keep butter from burning. Put in the chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Once browned, flip the chicken so they are skin side up. Lower the heat and continue to cook, until the chicken has rendered some of their juices, about 10 minutes. Drain excess oil as necessary.

Push the cooked chicken pieces to one side of the skillet. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter in the skillet, add minced garlic and mushrooms, and sauté, stirring occasionally until tender and browned. Add in the rosemary and the basil, stir to mix. Pour in the cream and combine with the chicken and the mushroom saute, making sure to coat the chicken pieces evenly with the sauce. Add the mushroom liquid and let the dish simmer over low heat until the cream has thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in the chili pepper flakes.

Turn off heat and then scatter torn fresh basil leaves over the chicken prior to serving.