Chicken with Morels Recipe | Mediterranean Foods
- 1½ oz (40 g) dried morels
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) chicken stock
- 4 tbsp (2 oz/50 g) butter
- 5 or 6 shallots, finely sliced
- 3½ oz (100 g) button mushrooms, finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried thyme
- 2-3 tbsp (30-45 ml) brandy
- ¾ cup (6 fl oz/175 ml) double or whipping cream
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 7 oz/200 g) each
- l tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup (6 fl oz/175 ml) dry sparkling wine
- salt and ground black pepper
- #Morels are among the best flavored dried mushrooms and, although they are expensive, a little goes a long way. You can, of course, use fresh mushrooms if you prefer.# Put the morels in a strainer and rinse well under cold running water, shaking to remove as much sand as possible. Place in a saucepan with the stock and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 1 hour.
- Remove the morels from the cooking liquid and strain the liquid through a fine sieve or muslin- lined strainer and reserve for the sauce. Reserve a few whole morels and slice the rest.
- Melt half of the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add the sliced morels and button mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes more. Season and add the thyme, brandy and 7 tbsp (3½ fl oz/100 ml) of the cream. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes until any liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove the morel mixture from the pan and set aside.
- Pull off the fillets from the chicken breasts (the finger- shaped pieces on the underside) and reserve for another use. Make a pocket in each chicken breast by cutting a slit along the thicker edge with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut all the way through. Using a small spoon, fill each pocket with one- quarter of the mushroom mixture and then, if necessary, close with a cocktail stick.
- Melt the remaining butter with the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the chicken breasts on one side for 6-8 minutes until golden. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Add the sparkling wine to the pan and boil to reduce by half. Add the strained morel cooking liquid and boil to reduce by half again.
- Add the remaining cream and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning. Return the chicken to the pan with any accumulated juices and the reserved whole morels, and simmer for about 5 minutes over a medium heat until the chicken breasts are hot and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Serve at once.