Red Chicken

This is a take on Dinah Shore’s Chicken and Mushrooms with Basil Garlic Sauce. I started making this recipe over 20 years ago, and my daughter gave it the name red chicken. Bruce requested that I make this last night, as he was craving it. This is very good served with garlic bread and a salad. It does splatter a bit.

Serves 4


  • Chicken
    • 1 whole large boneless skinless chicken breast (2 halves)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 cup of plain flour for dredging
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Sauce
    • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil, minced or 1 tablespoon of dried basil soaked in 2 tablespoons of water and drained well
    • 4 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste (if you have a garlic press, now is the time to use it)
    • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 4 oz of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
    • Short cut: you can use 5 tablespoons of Pesto instead of the 4 ingredients above
    • 6 oz can of tomato paste or 6 tablespoons of tomato paste
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


A whisks helps, knife, and cutting board, large heavy skillet, something to pound chicken, such as a mallet, wax paper or plastic wrap


  1. If using dried basil, mix 1 tablespoon of basil with 2 tablespoons of water.
  2. Cut each half of the chicken breast into 7 or 8 pieces, for a total of 14 or 16 pieces.
  3. Put the chicken pieces between two pieces of wax paper and flatten them to 1/4 inches thick with the mallet (or whatever you are using for pounding).
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off excess flour.
  6. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat and add olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, sauté the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Do not crowed the pan, you will need to sauté the chicken in two batches. Transfer sautéd chicken to a plate.
  7. To make the sauce, if using dried basil, drain it. In a medium sized bowl combine the basil with the mashed garlic cloves, whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk in 1/2 cup water, tomato paste, and cheese until smooth. If using Pesto, whisk Pesto with 1/2 cup water and tomato paste until smooth.
  8. Sauce should be thick, but pourable. You may need to whisk in the additional 1/4 cup of water.
  9. Sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat in the skillet that you cooked the chicken. If there isn’t any oil left after you cooked the chicken, add a tablespoon of olive oil before adding the mushrooms. Stir for 3-4 minutes until they are golden.
  10. Add the sauce to the mushrooms and simmer, while stirring, for 3 minutes.
  11. Add chicken to the skillet and stir to coat the chicken, and heat over medium heat until chicken is warmed through. This takes about 1-2 minutes
  12. Once chicken is warmed, remove from heat, and the dish is ready to serve.


You can use 5 tablespoons of Pesto instead of the basil, garlic, olive oil and cheese. You can also add more chicken, by adding one more half boneless skinless chicken breast. The sauce will cover it, and it will be less sauce on the chicken, but it will still be saucy enough.

7 thoughts on “Red Chicken

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