Ep 195 - I'm Not So Much a Twitcher, But I Do Love a Mushroom

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Join Caro and Corrie for Ep 195.

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This week on the show we talk about;

In the Cocktail Cabinet for Prince Wine Store Myles introduces us to 3 wines from the Bellota wine list.
  • Garden of Earthly Delights Reisling (Heathcote)
  • Arfione Fever
  • Diego E Damiano Dolcetto

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Chicken marylands with mushrooms and tarragon in a cream sauce
by Stephanie Alexander from her new cook book Home.

This combination – chicken, mushrooms, tarragon, cream – is a classic in the French regional repertoire. It may seem dangerous with the inclusion of both butter and cream but they are used in modest quantities and add lusciousness. I have suggested using chicken marylands. You might prefer to buy thighs, purchased with the bone in and the skin on. This dish is not suitable for breast portions as it needs to cook for quite a long time to develop the best flavour. The more muscular sections respond well to longer cooking. I like to serve this with a vegetable puree or maybe firm or soft polenta. Mashed potato is always a winner. Do not omit the final garnish of freshly chopped French tarragon. Its perfume brilliantly reinforces the flavour of the tarragon in the sauce.

Stephanie Alexander's new cookbook. Photo: Penguin
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 free-range chicken marylands, skin on or 8 large chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp chopped French tarragon
  • 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100ml tarragon vinegar or verjuice
  • 200ml golden chicken stock (see recipe below)
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 250g Swiss brown button mushrooms, halved if not small
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml cream
Garnish
  • 2 tsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped French tarragon
METHOD
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). If using chicken marylands, I chop off the knobby end of the leg bone to save space in my casserole. Mix the flour, salt, paprika and tarragon in a bowl and thoroughly coat each piece of chicken with this mixture. Shake each piece of floured chicken well and transfer to a tray.
  2. Select a heavy-based flameproof casserole that will hold all the chicken in one layer and that has a lid. Heat the ghee or clarified butter in it over medium heat. When it has just started to sizzle put the chicken pieces into the pan skin-side down and adjust the heat so that there is a sizzle but nothing more than that. You are aiming for well-browned pieces. Do not shake or prod. Check after 6 minutes. If the skin is looking golden brown, turn the chicken and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Now remove the chicken pieces to the tray or a plate.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring to mix, then lower the heat and cook for a full 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. The onion must be very soft. Raise the heat to high and tip in the tarragon vinegar or verjuice. Let it bubble up and almost entirely evaporate. Then add the stock and bring the pan back to a simmer. Stir and simmer for a few minutes, then return the chicken pieces to the pan. Press a crumpled piece of baking paper down over the chicken (this helps retain moisture) and put on the lid. Transfer the casserole to the oven for 45 minutes if using thighs only or 55 minutes to 1 hour if using marylands. Remove the casserole from the oven and test that the chicken pieces are tender. A skewer should slip through the thickest part of the chicken without resistance.
  4. While the chicken is cooking heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy-based frying pan that has a lid and tip in the mushrooms. Toss to coat with the butter, then grind on some pepper, cover and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and pour in the cream, then raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. The cream should bubble up and start to reduce. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
  5. Tip the mushroom and cream sauce onto the chicken once it tests tender, then give the casserole a shake and a stir to mix. Place the casserole over medium heat for about 5 minutes to reduce the sauce further. The aim is for a rich, creamy, not-too-liquid sauce. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Scatter half of the garnish over the chicken. Serve on warmed plates, scattering each portion with the remaining herbs.
Prepare ahead The dish (excluding the mushroom and cream sauce) can be prepared several hours or even a day ahead and refrigerated. Bring the chicken casserole back to bubbling in the oven at 160C fan-forced (180C conventional) for maybe 30 minutes. Make the mushroom and cream sauce while the chicken is reheating. Transfer the casserole to the stovetop and add the sauce. Reduce the sauce and add the garnish as described.
Serves 4

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