Chicken, Caramelized Onions, & Wild Mushrooms Over Pappardelle, with Creamy Bacon-Thyme-Balsamic Reduction

That’s quite a title, no?  You could just shorten the name of this dish to “Nom-Nom!”  This entree is also easy, elegant, comforting, and delicious.

1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast tenders
4 thick strips smoked bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
8 oz. assorted wild mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms will work in a pinch)
4″ piece of fresh thyme, stem discarded
1/4 C. ♥ Olive My Heart ♥ Traditional Style Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons ♥ Olive My Heart ♥ Hojiblanca, Picual, or Koroneiki EVOO, or ♥ Olive My Heart ♥ Wild Mushroom-Sage infused olive oil
1/2 C. heavy cream
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1 lb. pappardelle pasta or wide egg noodle pasta, cooked and drained

In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown the diced bacon to a crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat.  Season the chicken on both sides liberally with salt and pepper  Add the olive oil to the pan, place it back over the heat, and allow it to heat for a minute over medium-high heat.

Saute the chicken for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides, in batches if necessary.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the onions to the drippings in the pan.  Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become a soft golden brown.  Add the mushrooms.  Saute for approximately three more minutes over medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned and slightly caramelized.

Add the fresh thyme leaves and balsamic vinegar to the mushrooms and onions, deglazing the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Cook to reduce for a minute.  Add the cream and stir to combine.  Add the bacon and reserved chicken.  Allow the pan to come to a simmer.  Cook for another two minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens.  Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Serve over pasta, rice, or cooked whole grains.