Poulet aux morilles

I cannot take any credit for this recipe, it is a Raymond Blanc one. I found the recipe here.

It is one of the real classics from the region of France from which Raymond comes, the Franche-Comté.

Morels are not cheap, but they are well worth the effort, they make a huge difference to the flavour of the finished dish.

For this dish, you will need;

30 g (1.1oz) dried morels, soaked in 250ml water for at least 2 hours
4 free-range chicken breasts, skinned
1 pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
15 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter
250 g (8.8oz) firm button mushrooms, washed quickly, patted dry and quartered
120 ml (4.2fl oz) dry sherry or Jura wine (vin jaune)
400 ml (14.1fl oz) double cream

You will also need the following if you want to serve the leeks as a side dish;

2 medium leeks, trimmed, cut into 2cm pieces and washed
200 ml (7fl oz) boiling water
1 pinch of sea salt
15 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter

1) To prepare the morels;

Drain the morels, reserving the soaking liquor, 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 liquor through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any sand or grit and save 100ml.

2) 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 liquor 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) To serve;

With a slotted spoon, lift the leeks from their liquor and arrange on warmed plates. Sit the chicken breasts on top and pour the morel sauce over and around.

I served this with frites, mainly because I like frites, but also because I am pretty sure that you would get frites in a French restaurant.

Raymond suggests drinking a chilled Jura white with this, but we had a fabulous red Burgundy, a 2009 Auxey-Duresses.


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