Elegant Dinner Party Dish
Chicken with Morels
Courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook (with a few variations), here is an elegant, delectable chicken dish for any celebration. For those of you have not experienced Morels, they are earthy and meaty, but unfortunately, they are more expensive than most meat. One ounce of these little guys will set you back nearly 25 bucks. Sadly, for me, they happen to be about the only mushroom Tom will eat.We usually host Christmas Eve dinner, and this is one of my go-to dishes that never fails to impress. I serve it with Crispy English Potatoes with Pancetta and Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Panko Crumbs. A simple butter lettuce salad to start and finish with the Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Orange Mousse for a memory-making meal.
The chicken breasts are sautéed in clarified butter as are the mushrooms and shallots. Combined with Madeira, crème fraîche and cream, this dish is substantial and exquisite. I’m sure you can lighten up this recipe, but I have to confess I have never tried. Blame Ina.
Try to purchase chicken breasts that are similar in size and thickness for even cooking. I have added herbs de Provence to this recipe in addition to some sliced Cremini mushrooms; if you don’t have either, leave them out.
(Both the Madeira wine and clarified butter are usually available at Trader Joes.) Definitely make this the day before, cover and refrigerate and then reheat for serving.
1-ounce dried morels
6 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ cup All Purpose flour
1/4 Clarified Butter (if you can’t find it in the store, see below)
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Soak the dried Morels for 30 minutes in very hot water, stirring occasionally so they are submerged. Drain the water from the morels and rinse a few times to make sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard any remaining liquid, and dry the morels lightly with paper towels.
In a large plastic bag, combine the flour, one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon pepper and two teaspoons herbs de Provence. Add the chicken breasts one at a time and shake to coat.
In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt half the clarified butter and cook the chicken in two batches until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to an oven safe casserole dish.
Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, Cremini mushrooms, garlic and one teaspoon herbs de Provence. Sauté over medium heat until shallots are translucent, add in the drained Morels and sauté for 2 more minutes, tossing and stirring constantly.
Pour the Madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the crème fraîche, cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.
NOTE: To make your own clarified butter, melt unsalted butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove the white foam that comes to the surface, then allow the butter to sit at room temperature until the milk solids sink to the bottom. Pour off the golden liquid and discard the white sediment.
Recipe lightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris.