Leeks are wonderful vegetable! They should not be underrated as just stock vegetable or something that you would only use in a stew. In my opinion raw leeks are somewhat unappealing, rubbery in texture and the onion-y smell (when cut) is rather intense. But when they are cooked properly, the subtle sweetness and creamy texture are absolutely delights for the taste buds. Besides, leeks are packed with many vitamins, omega-3 fats and fibre and should be included in one’s healthy diet.
I must say I was a bit ashamed that I didn’t really appreciate leeks until just couple of years ago: I was once in an experimental mood on a dark winter day, I found a stalk of leek was lying in the crisper of the fridge, so I sautéed the shredded leeks in olive oil for a few minutes until they started to soften, then added curry powder and coconut milk. When the leeks were cooked until soft and silky, I served the vegetables with some pan-fried fish fillets, it was amazing! Since then l have totally changed my mind about leeks, and they have become a staple ingredient in my kitchen.
Chicken and leeks are a match made in heaven, so are chicken and mushroom, and this trio is one of the most popular combinations in British cuisine, you can often find them in pies or served with mashed or boiled potatoes as a main dish. Tender chicken breast savours in a creamy, earthy and mustardy sauce, it is charming, it is soothing, A real comfort food at its best.
Note1: I do highly recommend you to buy free range or organic chicken breast, I know they are expensive, but trust me, it tastes hundred times better than the mass produced ones. We don’t eat chicken so often neither, but if we do, the free range one is the definite choice. I usually buy a whole chicken and filet the breasts, cook the legs and wings for another meal, and make chicken stock with the carcass, this way, the whole chicken is used, so at the end of the day, it is totally worth it.
Note2: To enjoy the step-by-step photo recipe at Kitchenbowl, please click here.
- 2 (about 180g each) Free range or organic chicken breast, skin on
- 1 leek, trim off the dark green leaves, clean and finely shredded
- 200g mushroom, brushed clean and sliced
- 1 tbsp. wholegrain mustard
- 100ml white wine (or water)
- 100ml single cream or creme fraiche
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
- 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
- parsley for garnish
- olive oil
- A knob of butter
Season the chicken breasts with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a skillet until smoking point and add a good glug of olive oil, carefully place the chicken breasts, skin side down in the hot skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the chicken for about 1 minute. Turn the chicken breast onto the other side and fry for another minute.
Move the chicken breast to one side of the skillet and add the knob butter to the other, add garlic, leeks and sauté for about a minute or until they start to soften, add mushrooms. Fry for another minute (do keep an eye on the chicken breasts, make sure they are not burnt, turn again if necessary).
Add the wine (or water) and let it bubble for half a minute and then add the cream and mustard. Combine the vegetables and sauce well and with a spatula, move the sauce around the chicken breasts. Let the chicken (skin side up) cook in the sauce for about 3-4 minutes for until cooked through. Season the sauce if needed.
Transfer the chicken breasts onto a cutting board, slice them in an angle and then arrange them on warm plates. Ladle the vegetables and the creamy sauce on top and around the chicken. Garnish with parsley and more freshly ground black pepper, serve immediately.