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French Onion Chicken Casserole

French Onion Chicken Casserole (31)

Photo Mar 15, 5 34 58 PM

If you ask me what my favorite soup is I’ll tell you it’s definitely French onion. This dish combines all the ingredients of French onion soup into a chicken casserole. This is my French Onion Chicken Casserole.

I wanted to make a few changes to the recipe, making the dish my own. The part of the French Onion Soup I love the most is the bread and the cheese. I think everyone would agree on the cheese, but the bread, people either love that component of the soup or they don’t. I love the way the toasted bread acts as a bed absorbing all the juices and becomes melt in your mouth delicious.

Let’s get started with carmelizing the onions.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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French Onion Chicken Casserole (31)

French Onion Chicken Casserole (33)

Photo Mar 15, 5 34 58 PM

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13 x 2-inch) baking dish, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, paring knife, toothpicks, 1 meat-safe cutting board

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of butter, unsalted and divided
4 large onions, halved and sliced thinly into half-moons
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, (optional)
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons of white wine, or sherry
1 (10.5-ounce) can of beef consommè (substitute unsalted beef broth)
1 tablespoon of olive oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) of Gruyère cheese, freshly grated (substitute Mozzarella)
4 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish
1 package of pretoasted baguette slices or grilled and sliced Ciabatta bread (optional)

Note: If you can’t find pre-toasted baguette slices, it’s easy enough to make them yourself, and they should be made in advance of this dish.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 loaf of baguette, 1/4-inch slices (yields 16 slices)

Directions For Grilled Baguette:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the slices with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Directions For Caramelized Onions:
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add onions, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and half the fresh thyme leaves. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until soft.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, while stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and jammy, around 15 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup of the beef consommé when the pan gets too dry and continue stirring until onions are browned.

Pour in white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any of the bits sticking to the bottom. Allow the wine to reduce, cook for 1 minute until sauce thickens slightly.

Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, cook for 1 minute more. Turn the heat off and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Directions For Stuffing Chicken Breasts:
On a meat-safe board layout the six chicken breasts. Using a paring knife cut a slit into the side of the breast 3 inches long and 1/ 1/2 inches deep. Be sure not to cut all the way through. You just want to form a pocket for the stuffing. Do this to all the chicken breasts.

Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the caramelized onions into each pocket.  Next, add as much of the shredded cheese as you’re able to fit inside the pocket. Do Not over stuff.  Seal with toothpicks.

In a small mixing bowl add garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of  Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, whisk to combine. Using the seasoning mix, season both sides of each chicken breast.

In the same sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining butter with the olive oil. Cook the stuffed chicken breasts until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. The chicken will finish cooking in the oven. Transfer the seared chicken breast to a large platter. Set aside.

Transfer the remaining caramelized onions to the greased baking dish spreading them out into one even layer.

With the pan still over medium-high heat, pour the remaining beef consommé into the sauté pan. *Deglaze the pan (using a wooden spoon, scrape all the chicken bits from the bottom of the pan). Reduce the heat and simmer until broth reduces by half. There should be about 1/2 cup of sauce in the pan.

Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the prepared baking dish pouring it over the caramelized onions. This step is totally optional, if you choose, arrange the toasted baguette slices on top of the onions. The bread will soak up all the juices and act as a bed for the chicken.

Lay the stuffed chicken breasts on top of the slices of grilled baguette. Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce from the pan over each chicken breast. Top with the remaining thyme leaves. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165-degrees F.

Before serving, remove, and discard all toothpicks.

To Serve: Place one of the stuffed chicken breasts onto a serving plate along with some of the onions, grilled bread, and pan juices. Sprinkle the top with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and Italian flat-leaf parsley. There you have it my French Onion Chicken Casserole.

*Deglaze: To dilute meat sediments in a pan and/or pot to make a gravy or sauce, typically using broth or wine.

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Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy

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This dish is one of our favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked to make my Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy. The meat is so tender, the mushroom and onions pair perfectly with that deep brown gravy that swims over the egg noodles. This recipe is really easy to make.

I prefer to use a large sautèpan to brown and caramelize the meat because of its large surface area. I like to do this in two batches so as not to overcrowd the meat during the browning process before transferring the meat to the braising pot.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 heavy bottom braising pot with lid, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, large pot, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 (6-quart) pot, whisk, small bowl

Ingredients:
1 pinch of granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine, divided
1 1/2 pounds of top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch bite-size pieces
5 tablespoons butter, unsalted, 2 tbsp for mushrooms, 3 tbsp for egg noodles
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for the mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced
3 fresh sprigs of thyme (if the stems are woody, strip off the leaves, if the stems are still green and tender, no need to remove them)
1/4 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups beef stock, unsalted, reserve 1 cup of chilled beef stock for a *slurry
1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can of beef consommé
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pint of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 onions, large dice
1 package of NO Yolks broad noodles
1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to garnish egg noodles, (optional)

Directions For Browning Sirloin:
Cut the steak into 1 1/2 inch bite-size pieces, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Toss to coat.

In a preheated sautèpan over medium heat add half the steak cubes to the sautè pan, do not overcrowd. Allow them to brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip the sirloin tips to brown on the other side, again 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to the braising pot. Repeat this process for the second batch.

Using the same sauté pan, used to brown the steak, turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts add the diced onions, mushrooms, fresh rosemary, and thyme, continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes. Next, add the garlic, stir to combine, cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon, to *deglaze by scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, continue cooking until the wine reduces by half another 2 to 3 minutes, transfer the mushroom and onion mixture to the braising pot.

Pour 1 cup of beef stock into a small bowl or container. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until the time comes to make the *slurry.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Still over medium-high heat, add the remaining unsalted beef stock, beef consommé, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Bring up to a simmer, turn the heat off, cover, and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour, or until meat is tender.

To the reserved 1 cup of chilled unsalted beef stock add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk both together until it forms a smooth paste.

Remove the pot from the oven. Remove the lid and turn the heat to medium. Add the *slurry slowly, stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat to off, cover to keep hot.

In the meantime, cook the egg noodles according to package directions. In a large bowl add the remaining butter and chopped parsley. Drain noodles really well, then add to the bowl, toss to combine.

To serve. place buttered parsley egg noodles into a serving bowl, ladle the Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy over top. Serve hot.

*deglaze: To dilute meat sediments on the bottom of a pan in order to make a gravy or sauce. Typically done with wine.

*Slurry: For each cup of liquid you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl or measuring cup. Add an equal amount of cold liquid and whisk until smooth paste forms.

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Pot Roast cooked low and slow brings back some of your best childhood memories. You remember, Sunday afternoons, the house filling up with those wonderful aromas. Dinner time couldn’t come quick enough!!!

This is my Slow Cooker Pot Roast.

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 to  5 1/2 hours (on high)
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 7-quart Crockpot

Ingredients:
4 1/2 pound chuck roast, room temperature
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of garlic powder

2 large sweet onions, quartered
1 bunch (1 pound) of organic carrots with leafy tops, cut into 2-inch pieces
5 cloves of garlic, halved
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 (10.5-ounce) can beef consommé
1/2 cup of the reserved (beef stock) deglazing liquid
2 cups of beef stock, unsalted
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, extra for garnish

Directions:
Note: Make sure the meat is room temperature.

Liberally season the roast on both sides of the chuck roast with garlic powder, Kosher salt freshly cracked black pepper.  Add Canola oil to one sheet of paper towel. Using the oil-dampened paper towel wipe down the bottom and sides of the skillet. Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet begins to smoke, place the seasoned chuck roast into the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

This is a great tip in making clean up, of your pans, much easier!  With the pan still hot, and still, on medium-high heat, add in 1/2 cup of beef stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all those delicious bits from the bottom of the skillet. Transfer that liquid to a bowl and set aside.

In a slow cooker, add the quartered onions, cut carrots, garlic halves, Kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, tomato paste. Next, place the seared chuck roast on top. Add the reserved deglazing liquid, beef consommé, and the beef stock. Place the lid on and set the time and temperature for 4 hours on high.

After the 4 hours, carefully remove the tender roast. Using 2 forks, break the meat up into large chunks. Remove and discard any large pieces of fat. Return the meat back into the slow cooker. Add the quartered potatoes, and the fire-roasted tomatoes. Place the lid back on set the timer for another 2 hours. Wait for another hour to pass and check to see if the potatoes are tender.  If not, continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until tender. Finish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of  Italian flat-leaf parsley. This is my Slow Cooker Pot Roast.

Serve hot!

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