Pan-seared chicken thighs, nestled in a thick, creamy mushroom sauce. Infused with the flavours of fresh mushrooms and the deep, comforting tastes and aroma of dried thyme. Creamy Mushroom Sauce Baked Chicken is sure to be a family favourite!
When it comes to chicken, I much prefer the darker meat. Sure, chicken breast is fine from time to time, but the thigh, leg, drumstick and wing result in a more flavourful dish. I’m sure most home cooks will agree with me when I say the risk of drying out a chicken breast in the cooking process is high. I always have to be extra careful when cooking breast meat, because I have an ingrained fear of under-cooked chicken. You get food poisoning one time, and you’ll know all to well what I’m talking about!
In contrast, dark meat can take a little more heat, a little longer cooking time, and still come to your table with robust flavour and moistness. And, in addition to that, dark meat chicken pieces are most always less expensive. When you’re feeding a family on a budget, dark meat is the way to go!
Chicken thighs are ideal for this recipe, because like chicken breasts, they tend to be a little on the flat side. This allows for a much better sear before the baking process. Leaving the skin on locks in the flavour and the moistness of the meat while providing a tasty, crispy addition to a plain thigh. There’s no absolute law stating that you must use thigh meat. This dish would be just a good with a leg or drumstick as well. If you decided to use those, just sear the chicken on all sides to maximize the flavour.
Couple a seared chicken thigh with a creamy mushroom sauce like this one, which uses lots of real sliced mushrooms and a good heavy cream, and you’re going to be in chicken heaven. I suppose you could omit the fresh mushrooms completely if you want to make life a little easier and cheaper. You could just use two cans of the cream of mushroom soup and still end up with a great dinner. But, the fresh sauteed mushrooms adds so much depth to the flavour profile. I tend to find cremini mushrooms on sale quite frequently, so I would just go with it.
My mom used to make a similar chicken dish. And, sometimes, she would use pork chops instead of chicken. Unfortunately, she wasn’t a fan of fresh mushrooms, so she would use canned mushrooms in their place. You know the canned mushrooms I’m talking about? The stems and pieces? What kind of name is that anyway? Yet, even though those canned mushrooms were a tad bit chewy, my mom could always put a great taste on them. Now that I’m thinking about my mom’s mushroom covered pork chops, I’m craving those too!
And, before my memory bank takes me too far back (someday, I’ll tell you about pork chop Tuesday – pork chops with her homemade sweet sauce!) I’ll end this post and let you get to cooking. Oh, for serving suggestions, I’d either carb it up and serve it with a simple pasta noodle, or a mashed potato if I were feeling really hungry. Or, serve it with a simple Sauteed Buttered Asparagus. So delicious!
Creamy Mushroom Sauce Baked Chicken
- 6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white onions, finely chopped
- 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces canned cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Fresh thyme or parsley for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter to a heavy-bottom skillet and allow the pan to come up to temperature.
Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs. Carefully lay the thighs, skin side down, in the skillet and allow to sear for 3-4 minutes. Turn once, sear for another 3-4 minutes and remove from the skillet. Set aside.
Drain half of the oil from the skillet and add the onions and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are browned.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the canned mushroom soup, heavy cream, two tablespoons of water, and dried thyme. Stir into the mushroom and onion mixture.
Nestle the chicken thighs into the mushroom sauce and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs or chopped parsley and serve immediately.