Recipe Workshop: Chicken Chesapeake

Posted by Brette in Food

I need your help. I recently made Chicken Chesapeake, which is from Paula Deen’s magazine. Here’s the recipe

8 oz lump crabmeat
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
8 oz sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream
8 oz cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13×9 dish. Sprinkle crab in bottom.
Season chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper then cook in 2 tbsp melted butter in a skillet 4-5 min per side. Remove and place on top of crab.
Melt remaining butter, add mushrooms and green onions. Cook for 6 min until mushrooms are tender. Add wine and cook 6 min until reduced by half. Add cream and broth, cook for 10 min until slightly thickened. Stir in cream cheese. Add remaining salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and bake for 25-30 minutes.

It sounded SOOOOO good. But it wasn’t. It actually was pretty awful. I did use a refrigerated can of pasteurized crabmeat and I cut the recipe in half. Other than that, I followed it exactly. It was horrible. The sauce tasted delicious when I was cooking it, but over the chicken it was tasteless. The crab tasted not so great. Nothing about this was good and I was so disappointed. I don’t cook with crab a lot and am wondering if I expected too much? I tried squeezing some lemon over it on my plate and that didn’t help much. Any suggestions for making this recipe work?

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16 Responses

  • Old Bay. You need to stir in a good teaspoon or two of Old Bay. 🙂

  • That’s definitely a good idea. Part of the problem was the crab – it just tasted icky. Maybe add the crab at the very end so it doesn’t cook so long?

  • Maybe. Having grown up in Maryland, I’m not a huge fan of canned crab to begin with. But maybe chuck it in at the very end and see if that works. 🙂

  • There’s no way to get any other kind of crab meat here unless I’m going to pick it out of king crab legs. I used a big can of lump crabmeat over the holidays for an appetizer and that was very good. That kind is more expensive than the kind I bought for this – maybe only the very expensive kind of worth using.

  • I would definitely use the lump crabmeat. It really is much better, sweeter, tastier! Other than that, it sounds like it needs some herbs (thyme, parsley, maybe) and definitely some parmesan!

  • Argh – it’s so expensive and you have to buy so much! That can is giant. Well, I’ll mark this recipe off the list then – I don’t want to spend that much for a quick chicken dish!

  • Oh, that Paula Dean. She didn’t improvise very well. It’s not a good recipe. The crab meat has to be seasoned in order to get some flavor. It shouldn’t be buried on the bottom of the pan. Crab and cream cheese taste really good together, so why not combine them, instead of letting them cook separately. Most chicken and crab recipes on the web (yes, I did a search after I read your post this morning), call for chicken breasts stuffed with seasoned crab meat and cream cheese. Then there is another recipe called chicken and crab Baltimore, where all the ingredients are combined and baked casserole style. Brette, I hate it when I make a big effort to cook something that then winds up tasting lousy. Just to cheer you up, I am picking double chocolate biscotti for Martha Mondays!

  • That stinks that you weren’t happy with the recipe! I’m always a little weary of Paula Deen recipes, mainly because she uses things (like canned condensed soup!!) that I would never go near! This one seems okay when reading it, sorry it turned out so lousy!

  • I know what you mean. I have made some recipes of hers that I really like, but I agree that she does rely on processed food often which I don’t like.

  • You’re right – if it was mixed together it would have been much better. Didn’t anyone test this recipe? Sheesh! And the biscotti sounds amazing!! Send me the link when you get a chance.

  • Melissa Phillips says:

    OLD BAY….that crab has to be seasoned to bring that taste up to the top. This recipe is actually called Chicken Imperial in diff. places… ck around, maybe you can find one that suits you better. Don’t give up..this is an amazing dish. So many of our restaurants here in Ocean City,MD serve it.

  • Thanks for the input!

  • Angie says:

    My dad is the head chef at an up and coming, successful Baltimore Restaurant in Canton (Baltimore City). He took one look at this recipe and laughed. Then he offered a few suggestions. Mushrooms? No. This dish is called “Chicken Chesapeake” because it is made from the 2 things that Maryland is known for. Chicken and crab. No cream of anything, in fact. Canned crab meat is a sin in Maryland, but if it is necessary, always Lump. It’s sort of the “prime cut” of the crab! Old Bay (another notable Maryland product) is definitely necessary. Be very careful with Crab imperial as a stuffing. Only because it usually contains red and or green peppers and some people do not like what it does to the flavor of the crab. If you would like a great stuffing, go to use the recipe for crab dip, except halve everything BUT the crab meat. Grill the chicken breast, split it, immediately top with the crab mixture and cover with your favorite cheese. Provolone is popular, as is mozzarella, or FRESH grated parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley and old bay, then broil until cheese is bubbly (or slightly brown depending on the cheese).

    Another amazing filling for this is cream of crab soup that is reduced down to a thick consistency that would remind you of a dip and double the crab meat.

    Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Angie. Thanks for your input on this one!

  • rex says:

    The canned crab was the problem.