1.14.2017

A Truffle is No Trifle!

Forty years ago, when I graduated from high school, truffles to me were fancy chocolates from posh downtown boutiques.

This year, I attended my 40th high school reunion outside of Philadelphia. Truffles are still chocolates (no longer solely for the posh) and, of course, are named for the wonderful fungus I eventually discovered and over the years have come to love. I much prefer these to the chocolate variety.

For the reunion weekend, a small group of us stayed with our friends Linda and Chuck . En route to their house, I picked up a few picnic ingredients at their local grocery store. Of course a picnic called for cheese.

While perusing a beautiful and extensive cheese counter, I saw a domed lid with three black truffles. You can only imagine my excitement. I called the manager right over to discuss how I would need to pack these gems for travel to Tucson.

Imagine my dismay when she told me they were fake plastic display pieces... I was crestfallen. Then, imagine my joy when she told me they were getting a fresh shipment of Burgundy summer truffles on Monday. Count me in! She told me she would pack one and have it ready to pick up on Monday.

True to her word, the truffle was there, well-wrapped, and, within minutes, it was mine. (Spoiler alert/sticker shock warning: these funghi run about $80/ounce.)

Summer truffles are mild, and should only be served raw. I didn't want to use it on plain pasta or risotto. Been there, done that, loved it. I wanted to try something new.  Some research brought me to James Martin's "Forest Chicken" recipe, and from his idea, today's recipe was born.

The really good news for you? This recipe is amazing with or without the truffle! If you don't have one, serve it with a sprinkling of extra fresh tarragon or parsley. You will be delighted either way!

~ David

Poulet Forêt aux Truffes
Inspired by James Martin

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 large chicken thighs, with skin and bone
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces salt pork
6 ounces shallots
8 ounces wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles and cremini)
1/4 cup madeira
1 cup prepared chicken demiglace
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
1 small summer truffle - about 1/2 ounce

Prep work:
-    Trim the thighs of excess fat and skin.
-    Remove the rind from the salt pork, and cut into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch by 1-inch batons/lardons.
-    Peel the shallots, keeping the root end intact; cut them in half lengthwise, or in quarters, if very large.
-    Clean the mushrooms with a mushroom brush. Quarter the cremini. Leave the chanterelles whole, unless very large, in which case cut them into quarters, as well.
-    Prepare the chicken demiglace, and set aside, keeping warm.

Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter to a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Season the trimmed chicken pieces very well with salt and pepper. Add to the pan, skin side down, and fry until deep-golden brown; turn and repeat on the non-skin side.

Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon oil. Fry the salt pork lardons until they have rendered their fat and are crisp, then add the shallots and cook until golden.

Transfer the chicken from the frying pan to the Dutch oven with the lardons and shallots, and continue cooking over medium heat. Pour off most of the drippings from the frying pan, return it to the heat, and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Fry the mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add the Madeira and flambé; add the demiglace, cream, and tarragon, and mix well. Cook until it begins to bubble and form a sauce.

Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken and simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes.

To serve, pile the chicken in a serving bowl, cover in sauce and garnish with truffle shavings. If you aren't using the truffle, sprinkle with additional tarragon or parsley.

Serves 4.


29 comments:

  1. David, I love EVERYTHING about this. You just got my attention on Instagram and bam, here I am salivating just a little. A lot!

    I can feel your excitement about seeing truffles at the grocers, even if they were fake.

    I can't wait to get to Istria where I hope you eat my body's weight in truffles. They're the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, John - I would love to be in Istria - or Italy or France - during truffle season. I am happily jealous of you!

      Delete
  2. This recipe is to die for. My friend just picked some chanterelles on his mountain property and I am going to show him your recipe when he comes over for dinner tomorrow night. Unfortunately I already prepared some Rouladen (stuffed beef German style) . I don't think we can get the truffles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gerlinde - if you get those chanterelles, just use some truffle oil or salt to finish the dish - or even make it without the truffles - you won't be disappointed!

      Delete
  3. Chicken, mushrooms, tarragon, cream - sounds like a heavenly dish

    ReplyDelete
  4. Truly a thing of beauty, David. And I love that you use the thighs, they have so much more flavor that the breast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Frank - I really love thighs so much more than most of the chicken breasts available in today's markets - seems like most of the flavor has been bred out of them!

      Delete
  5. Hi David, another amazing dish, you are a "Maestro" of all good food. Your chicken looks perfectly cooked and the sauce is such a beautiful color. As for the truffles, they look and sound delicious, I'm embarrassed to say I have never actually tasted one.

    Lovely weather this week-end:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet, Cheri! Truffles are one of those things a person either loves or hates. When you are in the Pacific Northwest this summer, check and see if any of the stores carry them - they are beginning to grow them there!

      Delete
  6. Truffles are so fantastic aren't they and what a classic dish this is! You've made me hungry!
    Also - really pleased to hear you enjoyed your trip over here, glad I could be of help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a classic, and the first time I made it, Caroline - but it won't be the last!

      Delete
  7. What a gorgeous dish, David! With those ingredients, I know this is very delicious too. I've never eaten raw truffles, but I've experienced a hint of the flavor by using truffle salt that I bought last year. Gonna have to track some down try. Our anniversary will be here in the spring and I'm bookmarking this dish for a special dinner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a perfect anniversary dish, Marcelle - celebratory, yet comforting... just like marriage! If you can't find a truffle, just finish the dish with some of your truffle salt!

      Delete
  8. I practically swooned when I saw this dish! There is a local woman importing truffles and she puts out a FB post when there are some available. I have been debating taking the plunge and this may put that over the top.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, if you can get a truffle locally, I would do it, Inger! Whenever I see them for sale, I take advantage - even those grown in the US (Pacific Northwest).

      Delete
  9. David, what a beautiful dish -- I love everything about it! Though I love truffles, I never buy them. I just enjoy them occasionally when dining out. Maybe I'll break down and buy the next one I see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean - I have succumbed to truffles only when they are very small (you only need a little) and affordable. Rare to find them! This dish could easily be finished with truffle oil (the real thing) or truffle salt.

      Delete
  10. This dish looks delicious! I have some truffle zest from my Italian Try the World box and I bet I could use that instead of the truffle slices. My 15-year-old niece and 12-year-old nephew are obsessed with truffles so I gave one some truffle zest and the other some truffle sea salt as part of their Christmas gifts! They have sophisticated taste!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caroline - I have never heard of truffle zest. How wonderful that you got that in one of your boxes! Yes, that would be wonderful on this dish!

      Delete
    2. PS - I love that your niece and nephew are foodies!

      Delete
  11. This looks so good but leads me to the question of...what camera are you using?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sara! I am using a Nikon D3100 - kind of old but still working great!

      Delete
  12. I love the winter truffles (aka black or Périgord truffles or Tuber melanosporum) but I've come to really like a summer version (Tubera aestiva) I get in Provence at Les Pastras, a very cool organic farm in the Luberon. I've gone geeky here with the Latin names but there are several common winter and at least two common summer ones, the other being the Burgundy truffle. I've not had that one! The summer version is much more mild and I quite fancy it! The recipe looks very good! I will be going to that farm at the end of the week to pick up some truffles! What shall we make?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know exactly what you should make, and you need to report back! xoxo

      Delete
  13. Lovely story, David! My daughter is attending Villanova University, so I'm sure you know where that is (actually, she's at St Andrews for this semester, though).

    I got to hang out with James Martin when I was at the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow a few years ago. Very nice guy and awesome chef! This dish looks fantastic and so glad you got to take home a truffle for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a small world, Christina - I am from Villanova, and the campus chapel is where we went to church every Sunday! How wonderful she is at St. Andrew's this semester - my nephew went there all four years.

      How fun that you got to meet and work with James Martin - quite a wonderful chef!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.