I know it doesn't look like much. I swear, it almost seems like the stuff that doesn't look like much turns out to be a party in my mouth, and the stuff I slave over and make all pretty does nadda for me. I'm sure there's something incredibly deep and philosophical to be gleaned from that observation, but I'm too busy planning when I'm going to be eating the leftovers. My dad almost licked his plate, and the man is super picky. Morels + cream + crème fraîche = manna. Serve it with some mashed potatoes or bread or anything that will sop up that luscious gravy.
Chicken with Morels
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
¼ cup clarified butter
⅓ cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
If using dried morels, 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. If using fresh morels, wash gently and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.
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.
Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, 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 crème fraîche, 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 reheat slowly on top of the stove.
Makes 6 servings