Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Experimental cooking: chicken and mushroom stroganoff

When I cook, I don't tend to follow recipes too closely. Baking, I follow the recipe to the letter - there is too much potential for things to go wrong otherwise- but cooking tends to be largely experimental.

So when I was left in charge of dinner and I  told my mum we were having [imagine the voice of Jean from Eastenders] "Sausage surprise ....the surprise being that there are no sausages", she looked a tad worried, but left me to it nonetheless.

 My plan was to attempt a chicken and mushroom stroganoff. I tried a creamy beef stroganoff once before, and although the flavour came out well the beef was too tough.

I began by cutting two chicken breasts into thin strips and frying them in oil on a low heat. A few minutes later I added sliced closed cup white mushrooms (a generous amount to allow for fry shrinkage), and began to add in double cream and white wine (approx. 2:1 ratio) and stirred. It's best to add a little liquid at a time and replenish slowly as it evaporates, rather than adding it all at once. I added a couple of teaspoonfuls of gravy granules- it sounds bizarre, but it's an old trick to add both flavour and colour- and a pinch of ground black pepper. I left this simmering on a medium heat for around 15 minutes, stirring near constantly to avoid the cream and wine separating, and meanwhile set the basmati rice on to cook. Finally I added some sweetcorn to the stroganoff and left it to simmer for a further couple of minutes before serving.

The final outcome was disappointingly bland. I realise that the sweetcorn was a strange choice, but whilst cooking it I felt that it needed a little extra something than just the mushrooms and chicken. Onions were considered, but the texture of onions combined with the texture of mushrooms is enough to set even the best pearly whites on edge. I also thought about peppers, but thought that would subtract from the creamy taste/texture I was going for and venture further into fruity territory. However, even with the addition of the sweetcorn, the final product needed salt and pepper to add some ooomph (ooomph, I've come to realise, is an essential ingredient to any meal). Perhaps using a different variety of mushroom such as a chestnut mushroom would have given a stronger undertaste. Even so, a herb of some sort would not have gone amiss. Lesson learned for next time!

1 comment:

  1. I never follow recipes accuratley either, not even with baking, to my peril! I love stroganoff, mushroom and red pepper is a fave xxx