You may recall my rave about Cono & Sons O’Pescatore, our favorite old-school Italian joint. Well, my Weight Watchers meeting is around the corner from the restaurant, so after losing another 2.2 pounds tonight (yippeeee) I was inspired to recreate my favorite dish, Chicken a la Cono. I’m shocked, absolutely shocked, but it came out exactly as I hoped. The potatoes pick up a wonderful vinegary bite, the mushrooms are golden but still juicy, and the chicken bursts with flavor. The sauce is thickened by the potatoes, and the peppers add a little taste explosion to keep you from getting bored. This dish ROCKS, and it’s the easiest thing you can imagine. I mean, look at the ingredients: chicken breasts, potatoes, mushrooms, jarred pickled peppers, vinegar, and chicken broth. All pantry staples. Why on earth didn’t I think to try this before? When S and I finished licking our plates, I sighed with satisfaction, smiled, and told him we’d never have to go to Cono again. Horrified, he reminded me of what I have yet to attempt, and never will: their perfectly luscious, perfectly soothing, perfectly perfect Pasta Fagiole. OK, we’ll be back at Cono. Soon.
Oh, and a little bonus for my fellow Weight Watchers: It’s totally Core.
Chicken a la Cono, Debbie-Style
Serves 2, with leftovers
2 baking potatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
3 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt & pepper
8 large button or crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup chicken broth
4 oz jar of vinegar peppers (hot or sweet, whatever you prefer), drained
Peel the potatoes and slice them thin (a mandolin comes in handy here). Place in a bowl of ice water and set aside.
In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat a glug or two of olive oil over medium heat, and sauté the chicken. When it turns white, add the sliced garlic and continue cooking, until both chicken and garlic are lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels (you want them to be completely dry). Add a little more olive oil to the pan if it looks dry, and put in the potatoes and salt & pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about ten minutes, turning the pieces every so often, until most pieces have browned edges. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they soften and start to brown. Pour in about half of the vinegar and stir. When the potatoes have absorbed most of it, add about half of the broth. When that’s cooked down, too, reduce heat to low, return the chicken and garlic to the pan, and add the rest of the vinegar and broth. Let it simmer for a minute—the liquid should be fairly thick and glossy—then add the vinegar peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through, another minute or two. [It’s probably a good idea to have a little extra broth handy, in case it starts to stick before the potatoes are fully cooked. Don’t go crazy adding more vinegar, though, unless you REALLY like the taste of vinegar.]
Serve with a tossed salad.