Meaty shiitakes, a good sear on the chicken, and a sprinkle of nutty parmesan cheese—not to mention the sweet, tender-crisp asparagus—make this low-fat dish a winner. Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes. Notes: If you prefer your asparagus more fully cooked, return it to the oven once you've lifted out the chicken and bake it 5 to 10 minutes more.
Sunset FEBRUARY 2008
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add chicken breasts, top side down, and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn chicken over.
2. Add shallots and garlic to pan with chicken, stirring occasionally so garlic doesn't burn, until shallots are soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme sprigs, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook until mixture begins to boil, about 1 minute.
3. Lay asparagus over chicken, then cover pan and put in oven. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through (cut to check) and asparagus is tender (see Notes). Transfer chicken to a plate.
4. Season asparagus-shiitake-stock mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Divide vegetables among 4 rimmed plates or shallow pasta bowls, top each with a piece of chicken, and spoon sauce over all. Garnish with chopped thyme and parmesan.
Note: Nutrition analysis is per serving.
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