Thursday, February 26, 2015

9. CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

In his third year of law school Dave was selected by Judge E. A.VanGraafeiland of the US Second District Court of Appeals to serve a year long clerkship in New York.  The Judge's chambers were in Rochester, NY, and they heard cases in Manhattan one week out of every month. So upon graduation we loaded up a UHaul truck and drove to the east coast, up from Pittsburgh through the green belt, through the maze of lakes to Pittsford, NY, where we rented the house of a family who had gone overseas for a year.  We have fond memories of that year, of that place, and especially the people.  I distinctly remember the gold shag carpet, and the astrological posters that graced the walls of the master bedroom.  I patiently pursed my lips together and blew on one of those stars through hours of labor with our second baby, Sarah, who was born at Rochester General on my 22nd birthday.  
Dave worked unreasonable hours while we were there.  Twelve hour days…or more.  Meanwhile I was in a strange new place with no car and no friends (until I got a church calling with the incomparable Sally Jo Winebrenner, who changed my life).  So I started my own business, Cori's Unforgettable Edibles.  I designed and baked and decorated gingerbread houses.  I marketed them to Realtors, who ordered them for clients with children.  I even hand delivered them, with hand made cards that said things like "Hope you're enjoying your new HO-HO-HOME", with a Santa on front. I spent a lot of time cooking there in New York, since there wasn't a whole lot else to do but change diapers and chase a toddler and nurse a new baby.
One of the recipes I tried that year was in a Better Homes and Garden's cookbook.  Turkey Tetrazzini, using leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  I wasn't in love with that idea, but I could tell by reading the recipe that if I altered it and used fresh ingredients it would likely make for some yumminess.  And so this is what I came up with.  It's a family favorite, and is one of the few things we rarely have to throw away as a leftover from the fridge, because it is just as good reheated as it was fresh from the oven.  Many a teenage school kid came home after school and zapped a portion in the microwave. 
By the way, I keep my shredded Parmesan cheese in the freezer.  It lasts much longer and defrosts quickly since it's shredded.

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

½ c  butter

1-2 lb. Chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1” chunks

1 pound (more or less)  mushrooms

1 pint cream Same amount of chicken broth as cream

2 cans chicken broth or 3 c water and 4 t bouillon powder

1/2 c. flour

½ c white cooking wine

Salt and pepper

1lb. thin spaghetti

1 c. parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of water to boil and cook spaghetti noodles (al dente…do not overcook)
Meanwhile, melt ½ cube of butter in large skillet.  Sear chicken chunks in hot butter until they  barelyturn white.  Remove from pan.  Add clean sliced mushrooms and cook until tender.  Remove from pan (may put in same bowl as chicken).  Add another ½ cube butter. Melt, then add flour. Stir flour into fat until completely coated.  Add equal portions of broth and cream.  (if the sauce ends up too thin add more flour in cold water.  If too thick, add more broth and cream) It should look like a thin gravy.  Add ½ c white cooking wine.  Let boil so alcohol steams off.   Salt and pepper to taste.
Once sauce is thick and smooth add chicken and mushrooms.  Stir into drained noodles and mix well.  Pour into casserole and top with shredded parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered ½ hour - 45 mins. at 350 degrees, or until it's bubbling and cheese on top is browned.
Slice chicken breast meat into strips.
It will cut easier and more uniformly if it's slightly frozen.
Cut into uniform chunks, 1/2" to 1"
Clean surfaces where chicken has touched with bleach and water.
Cook mushrooms after you sear the chicken, in the same pan.
After cooking mushrooms, cook down the remaining liquid
then add more butter, then flour.
Stir constantly as you add broth, cream and wine to flour and butter mixture.
Add chicken and mushrooms to cream mix. Then add cooked pasta. Stir.
Pour into casserole dishes and cover with parmesan cheese.  Bake 30-45 mins at 350.



5 comments:

  1. Yum! I'm so glad you discovered this one. We love it. I wish I had photos of those gingerbread houses. I bet they were amazing!

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  2. Love having the pics and the memories with the recipes. I have never made this one...I think I should try it, don't you?

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  3. Love having the pics and the memories with the recipes. I have never made this one...I think I should try it, don't you?

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  4. Those leftovers have saved me several times over the ages - I can't believe I've never picked up the frozen shredded parmesan tip over all these years...

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  5. Yup! This one's a winner for sure!!♥️♥️

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