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
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.
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
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!
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 large chicken thighs, with skin and bone
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles and cremini)
1 cup prepared chicken
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
1 small summer truffle
- about 1/2 ounce
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,
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
Labels: burgundy truffle, chantarelles, chicken thighs, cream, madeira, shallots, summer truffle, tarragon, truffle, wild mushrooms