Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Dinner of Luxury! (Part 1)

I am the only non-mom in my family. That means when it comes to Mother's Day, it's my job to do the cooking--to spoil my mother and sister. (By the way: shouldn't there be an Aunt's Day? We could use some pampering, too!)

I usually cook the family a big Mother's Day brunch, but my mom is not much of a morning person. So this year, I asked Mom: would you prefer a brunch or dinner? She picked dinner. And she requested Chicken with Morel Mushrooms, a dish I've made a few times now, for family celebrations. She and my sister also requested Chocolate Guinness Cake for dessert--click here for that recipe.

Here's the recipe I used for the Chicken with Morel Mushrooms. It comes from Ina Gartner, aka the Barefoot Contessa. This is a heavy, rich dish--one to enjoy on occasion. I am not always willing to shell out the $20+ for dried morels, so I used a dried mushroom medley instead. You could use fresh mushrooms if you don't want to bother with dried.

  • 1- ounce dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1⁄4 cup clarified butter
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup Madeira wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess. Heat half the clarified butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof casserole.
  4. Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 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 creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.
  • To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and increase cooking time to approximately 30 minutes, or until heated through.
  • I don't use clarified butter--I just don't have time to deal with that. Instead, I add a tiny bit of olive oil to the butter before cooking the chicken.
  • Serve with rice and veggies--check out tomorrow's post for a yummy green bean idea from Cooks Illustrated.

1 comment:

Greta said...

This is one of your signature dishes! I love this and was very happy that Mom selected it for Mother's Day this year!!! Super good to eat - thank you! :)