May 8, 2014

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff (Estrogonofe de Frango)

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff (Estrogonofe de Frango)
A few months ago, we were joined by a lovely woman from Brazil, who is our Au Pair.  It is incredibly helpful to have an additional person to help with the kids- especially when they both need to be somewhere at the same time!  In addition to making my life significantly better, she's shared with us one of her favorite home cooked meals.  At first, she described it to me as 'Stroganoff.'  If you're American (like us), you probably thought of a beef dish, with a lovely sauce that includes mushrooms, maybe sour cream, and of course, served over egg noodles.  Apparently that's not at all what Brazilians consider to be Stroganoff, for starters, it's made with chicken.  It's also served over rice, contains mustard, and the sauce is light orange.  Perhaps the only uniting feature is that they both contain mushrooms.  In any event, I'm so glad she shared it with us, we've had it twice now and it is warm and hearty and delicious.  The children both like it, too!  They call it simply 'Brazilian Chicken.'

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff
Phase 1:
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
canola or other vegetable oil
2.25-2.5 lb. chicken breast meat, I buy raw 'tenders' and then cut them smaller, it saves time
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cups white wine (I used Reisling)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrated, from a tube)
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock

Phase 2:
10 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
olive oil
unsalted butter

Thickener:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp flour

Add at the end:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp whole grain dijon mustard (Maille brand)
3-4 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf)

Adding Hawaiian red sea salt to chicken
Let's begin!  In a large pot or pan, heat about 2-3 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Prepare the chicken.  I like to buy chicken breast tenders and then just cut them into smaller 1-2" pieces, it saves a little time.  Place the chicken in a bowl and add the salt and pepper.  I add about half to two thirds the amount of pepper as salt.  So maybe a little over 1/2 a tsp of pepper.  Mix the chicken to evenly distribute.  Once the oil is shimmering a little, brown the chicken in batches.  If it's only turning white, not slightly browned, increase your heat.  You're only cooking the outside.  Once it's slightly browned, remove it from the pan and set aside, finish the remaining uncooked chicken in the same way.  Set it aside.

Browning chicken for Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Browned chicken for Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Chopped onion for Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff
In the same large pot or pan, heat an additional 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium or low to medium heat.  Add the onion, and brown for several minutes.  You don't want extreme caramelizing, but you want some.  When the onion is fairly far along, add the garlic, stirring frequently, so it doesn't burn.  If you're concerned about the heat, make it lower before you add the garlic.  Allow it to brown slightly for just a minute or two.

Add the wine.  If there are any brown bits on the pan, scrape them up and incorporate them into the sauce.  The wine will make them come up easily.  Simmer the wine until it's nearly gone.  Now, add the tomato paste, stir.  Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce, stir until it's well mixed.  Now, return the chicken meat, partially cover the pot or pan, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 35 minutes.

Wine added to onion and garlic for Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

This is a good time to start your rice.  I use Goya brand Jasmine rice that takes 15 minutes to cook.  I heat 3 cups of water in a small Le Creuset dutch oven until it's boiling.  I add a Tbsp of canola oil, stir in 1 1/2 cups of rice, turn the heat to low, cover it, and simmer over low for 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes is up, I let it sit, covered for an additional 5 minutes.  This helps it not be too soggy.


Browning mushrooms for Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Also while the chicken mixture is simmering, you're going to prepare the mushrooms.  It will take you nearly the whole time of the simmering to brown the mushrooms, so have them ready to go ahead of time.  Whole Foods sells prepackaged cleaned, sliced mushrooms.  In another pan, I use a medium sized skillet, heat even amounts of unsalted butter and olive oil.  About 1 Tbsp each.  When it's warm, about medium heat, add the mushrooms.  These have to be done in batches, too, you can't crowd them, they won't brown properly.  Turn the mushrooms to brown each side, it will be a minute or two for each side, then set them aside.  As you work through the batches, add more olive oil and unsalted butter as needed.

In a small dish, work together the 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter (it helps if it is room temperature) and flour.  This is a technique to thicken our sauce.  It may be familiar to you from our chicken pot pie recipe.  We do something similar to get the nice sauce consistency.  Check it out here:  La Dolce Duchessa's Chicken Pot Pie

Unsalted butter and flour blended together to thicken sauce

When the timer reaches only 5 minutes left on the simmering chicken mixture, add the combined butter and flour, stir.  When the five minutes is up, turn off the heat.  Add the remaining ingredients, the cream, the whole grain dijon mustard, the mushrooms that you have already browned, and stir.  Add the parsley last.

Adding mustard to Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Stir to combine all the ingredients.  Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve over the rice.  Enjoy!

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff (Estrogonofe de Frango)