In our house the weekend papers are an important part of the weekend enjoyment, and when the Observer Food Monthly arrives its always the one section Darren and I fight over to look at first!
So when I saw it was a French edition and that there were recipes from Raymond Blanc to go with his new book Kitchen Secrets, I knew that I would cooking at these one soon and we did!
Chicken with morels and sherry wine sauce
This is a great classic of French cuisine and it originates from Raymond’s own region. It is quick and easy to prepare and I agree with Raymond that this dish would certainly make you popular with your friends, Darren loved it!
Preparation: 10 mins, plus 2 hours soaking mushrooms
Cooking: 20 mins
Planning ahead: the dried morels need to be soaked for at least a couple of hours. You can prepare the chicken half an hour in advance and warm it through in the morel sauce to serve.
dried morels 30g, soaked in 250ml water for at least 2 hours (I couldn’t get morels, so I went for dried wild mushrooms cooks ingredients from Waitrose)
organic/free-range chicken breasts 4 (180g each), skinned
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
unsalted butter 15g
firm button mushrooms 250g, washed quickly, patted dry and quartered
dry sherry or Jura wine 120ml
double cream 400ml
For the leeks
medium leeks, trimmed 2 cut into 2cm pieces and washed
boiling water 200ml
pinch of sea salt
unsalted butter 15g
To prepare the morels or in my case the wild mushrooms, drain the morels, reserving the soaking liquid, and squeeze to extract as much of the liquor as possible. Rinse the morels, drain and squeeze dry. Cut larger morels into smaller pieces; set aside. Pass the reserved liquid through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any sand or grit and save 100ml.
To cook the chicken, season the breasts with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it is foaming. Add the chicken breasts and colour lightly for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve.
In the fat remaining in the frying pan, soften the soaked morels and button mushrooms together, for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the sherry or wine in a small pan for 30 seconds. Add the sherry or wine to the mushrooms with the reserved morel liquid and a pinch of salt. Pour in the cream and bring to the boil.
Place the chicken breasts back in the pan, making sure the cream sauce covers them. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until they are just cooked through.
To cook the leeks, while the chicken is cooking, put the leeks into a saucepan, pour on the boiling water and add the salt and butter. Cover and cook at a full boil for 5–10 minutes until tender.
To finish the dish, using a slotted spoon, lift out the chicken breasts and place in a warm dish; keep warm. Boil the sauce rapidly to reduce until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the chicken breasts back in the sauce to reheat for 2 minutes.
To serve, with a slotted spoon, lift the leeks from their liquid and arrange on warmed plates. Sit the chicken breasts on top and pour the morel sauce over and around.
As Raymond would say Bon appetit!