Mushrooms have gotten a lot of attention recently, and for good reason: They’re packed with vitamins and minerals—like B6, folate, niacin, copper, selenium, and zinc—and the unique antioxidant ergothioneine (also known as ERGO). The fungi are a decent source of fiber, too. One serving of shiitake mushrooms, for example, supplies 3 grams. What’s more, observational research suggests that regular mushroom consumption may be linked with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer and dementia.
To best harness the health benefits of mushrooms, look for the most nutrient dense varieties. Shiitake, oyster, and maiitake, for example, have been shown to have four times the amount of ERGO in crimini (or button) mushrooms. You’ll see these varieties both dried and fresh; and the nutrients are comparable in both forms.
The one-skillet recipe below features mushrooms in a simple, weeknight-friendly meal that’s incredibly versatile. At the heart of the dish is a simple mushroom pan sauce spooned over a juicy pan-seared chicken breast; it can be served alongside a green salad or whole grain.
The sauce starts with fresh mushrooms, though dried can easily be substituted. To use dried mushrooms, sub two ounces dried mushrooms and soak them in warm water 30 minutes ahead of time. For more concentrated mushroom flavor, strain the soaking liquid (it will be sandy), and use it in place of the chicken broth.
Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
1 large shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. mushrooms (I used a mix of shiitake and oyster)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
½ cup chicken broth or white wine
2 Tbsp. minced parsley leaves
Fresh ground pepper
- Set chicken in a small tray. Sprinkle on both sides with sea salt and pepper. Allow chicken to come to room temperature while you prepare other ingredients.
- To clean mushrooms, run caps under cold water and rub with fingertips or brush clean with a damp paper towel. Pinch and slowly twist to remove stems from the shiitakes. For the oyster mushrooms, cut away the large, blocky stem at the bottom, and then trim any fibrous ends that might remain. Cut shiitake into ½-inch thick strips and halve the largest oyster mushrooms.
- Set a plate in the oven and heat it to 170 degrees F.
- Set a large cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet on the stovetop and turn heat just a bit past medium (about 5 o’clock). Add 2 tablespoons oil and then the chicken. Allow chicken to cook, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Flip, and cook 5 minutes more. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer; once temperature has reached 165 degrees F, set chicken on the platter to warm.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add shallots, sprinkle with sea salt, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add mushrooms, lemon zest, and a generous pinch each sea salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring often, 5 minutes more. Stir in chicken broth or wine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until mushrooms are tender and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes more. Fold in parsley.
- Remove chicken from oven and set on a cutting board. Tip any accumulated juices from the pan into the skillet and stir to combine. Slice chicken breasts, top with mushroom sauce, and serve alongside a green salad or whole grain.
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Elizabeth Stark blogs about food at BrooklynSupper.com, where she shares her passion for simple recipes and fresh, seasonal produce.