This dish has generated lots of attention lately. Not only did I teach it last week to some other women in a cooking class (we made three dishes in one hour, and this was one of them!), but I also made this for twenty-four people for a church function. Everyone loved it, and I developed the recipe so that it was gluten-free (a couple members in church eat gluten-free).
I use tamari when I’m making wheat-free foods, and it’s my substitute for soy sauce because soy sauce is made from wheat. If you don’t restrict gluten, you could easily make a roux out of a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour and butter if you don’t have potato starch, or even use cornstarch (blend it into the chicken broth first before adding it to the ragout). I just find that the potato starch (you can find this in Asian markets) is really easy to blend, and I like how it thickens the ragout without making it “shiny,” if that makes any sense. If you don’t restrict gluten, have this with some bread (like I did!), and if you are eating gluten-free, this is really good with some brown Jasmine rice.
Chicken and Mushroom Ragout
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut in 2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
10 oz Baby Bella (aka cremini) mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoons potato starch
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
Over medium heat in a cast-iron (or other heavy) pot (example: a 3.5 quart French oven), add the extra-virgin olive oil. When it is hot and shimmering, add the chicken, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Take the chicken out (it will not yet be cooked through), and add unsalted butter to the pan (do not wipe the pot). Add onions, tomato paste, and another 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; stir to combine. When thoroughly incorporated, add the mushrooms, garlic, shallot, thyme, and rosemary.
Saute vegetables for 2 minutes, then add the chicken back into the pot and saute with the other vegetables until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the potato starch into the chicken broth. Add the chicken broth mixture into the pot with all the ingredients. Bring the ragu to a boil. When it boils, turn the heat down to med low, and simmer. Stir tamari (or soy sauce) into the ragout. Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
Serve with brown rice, French bread, or slices of tube polenta that have been fried in olive oil and butter.