i cannot follow a recipe. i always, always stray and do my own thing. my friend and i adore chicken madeira from the cheesecake factory, and i haven’t had it in years. since there is no cheesecake factory in manhattan, i went to my bff google to find out how to make it on my own. i saw lots of recipes (here, here and here) all containing the same instructions and ingredients. so, i decided to use this famous recipe to try to replicate our favorite dish at home.
it ended up tasting good, it’s just that the texture wasn’t right. at all. the “sauce” was so thin it couldn’t stay on the plate – it didn’t thicken. in my defense, i looked at it while it was cooking and thought “i really need some flour in this” but i figured hey, let’s just stick to the recipe. its famous for a reason.
however, it just takes a little bit of flour to fix so the post is still worth reading 🙂 plus, misadventures are always fun.
we wanted to make this meal healthy (mac and cheese and chicken pot pies aren’t really the healthiest things to eat), so we dicded to nix the cheese and mashed potatoes and have some extra asparagus. started out by washing, drying and trimming the asparagus.
toss in some olive oil, freshly cracked salt and pepper.
put them in a 425 oven, set the timer for 7 minutes to check. they should have been done in 10 minutes max. however, my oven timer decided not to go off until 3am that night so we ended up with some pretty wrinkly asparagus. lesson – don’t trust the timer.
onto the chicken. using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts thin.
cover the chicken with saran wrap before pounding, unless you want a chickeny-bacteria-ridden mess.
season with salt and pepper.
put the chicken breasts in an olive-oiled pan over medium heat.
cook for about 5 minutes each side or until chicken is browned and done on both sides.
don’t clean the pan when you’re done! brown bits are always good, just as long as you have enough liquid to deglaze with.
put the cooked chicken aside and cover with foil to keep warm.
in the same pan, add some oil and the mushrooms. saute until browned to your liking.
add in the butter, 2 cups of stock and 3 cups of madeira wine. i used a better quality wine. try not to use cooking wine. when you cook with wine the flavor concentrates, so you want something that you would drink. this wine is pretty flavorful, so only lightly season with salt and pepper.
if you want to try this NOT going by the recipe, i would add 2 spoons of flour to the mushrooms with the butter and let it cook for a minute before adding the liquids.
let it sit and reduce for 20 minutes.
i let it sit and reduce for 20 minutes, and it reduced, but it did NOT get thick. i let it reduce for a pretty long time after (meanwhile, the asparagus were quickly aging in the oven) and still did not thicken.
if you choose to try this out, make sure to keep stirring for a while after the flour is on there to make sure there are no clumps.
oh yeah, while reaching for the salt, i knocked over the sugar. my friends thought it was hilarious and that i had to document it.
we got impatient and screwed waiting for it to get thick, bc it wasnt going to. plated the chicken, “sauce” and mushrooms. good thing is – at least it tasted good (minus the wrinkly asparagus)!
oh yeah! and then i spilled “sauce” on the floor.
moral of the story – recipes aren’t ever perfect. ESPECIALLY mine. use them as a guideline, but always follow your instincts and do what you want! after all, it’s just food 🙂