This is a great dinner who’s origin stems from a Chicken Fricassée recipe in Gourmet magazine we found some time ago (everything starts with something, right?), but it has evolved since then.
[Most of the evolution was prompted by the appearance of fresh mushrooms at our local farmer’s market last year. A big event. Trust us.]
It works great for 2 or for 6 people and plays like high end comfort food for those who don’t mind a lack of beauty but very high taste. We’ve served it to as many as 8 and have always had some form of root vegetable accompany it. A crispy kale salad with persimmon and pomegranate also works well.
[For those who simply don’t like mushrooms, and you know who you are, it works just as well without those added at the onset.]
In this case, we served it alongside some great purple sprouts sautéed in garlic, nutmeg and parmesan (purple sprouts – another recent addition to our farmer’s market – wow) and (well)roasted fingerling potatoes we also got at the farmer’s market that morning.
Ok, so the photo isn’t the most appetizing, but it tastes great. Trust us.
In a nutshell – for two chicken breasts (and these amounts can actually work fine for up to 4 if need be, go up to 1.5x or 2x for more) you’ll need:
- 2 to 4 chicken breasts (skin on or off as your health regimen dictates; skin on yields more taste, skin off less fat)
- 2 shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 2 bay leaves, 4 Tablespoons chopped, fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 fresh lemon (or the juice thereof)
- 10-15 medium mushrooms (we used baby Porchini’s in the above photo but Shiitake’s work great too), sliced chunky but not too thin.
- Olive Oil & Butter, Salt & Pepper
Sprinkle some S&P over both sides of the chicken. Then, in a large skillet with a little olive oil, brown the chicken breasts – skinside down first if you go that route – about 2-3 minutes per side – until just golden. Remove and set aside on a plate.
Add the chopped shallots, garlic and bay leaves to the same pan, adding a little more oil if too dry. Sautee until soft but not too brown, 3-5 minutes.
Add sliced mushrooms, a little more oil (if needed) and 1-2 Tb of butter (you can forego the butter, if you want, and just use a little more oil, but it adds a lot of taste to the mushrooms). Reduce to medium high heat and allow to simmer, stirring every so often, until mushrooms are just browned and softened, 6-8 minutes.
Add white wine and turn up heat slightly. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, just to infuse the mushrooms with more taste.
Add chicken stock, cream and 2 Tb of the fresh tarragon. Reduce the heat to medium to avoid hyperactivity but keep simmering. Stir well.
Return the chicken to the mixture, making sure to move the mushrooms to the side so none of them get caught underneath the chicken.
Allow the entire mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered until the sauce has thickened and been reduced by at least 2/3 – about 8-12 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over at least once halfway through the process.
Once thickened to your taste, remove the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Place chicken on your serving trays and stir-in the remaining tarragon and about 2-3 Tb of fresh lemon juice to the sauce. Stir well and serve (all)over the chicken.
This is a great Sunday Dinner with Autumn/Winter Veggies.