Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, Grapes and Tarragon

This dish can be a fricassee, as here, or the chicken can simply be roasted and the sauce served separately. Oyster or pleurote mushrooms have become fairly common, but if you have any problem finding them, just substitute with button mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, 1.5–1.75 kg (3–4 lb)
  • 350 g (12 oz) oyster or button mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of fresh tarragon
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 175 g (6 oz) seedless grapes, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the Sauce

  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock
  • 450 ml (15 fl oz) double cream

Method

For a fricassee, the chicken must be cut into four portions, removing the breasts and legs from the carcass. Split the drumsticks from the thighs, but leave the breasts whole. The carcass should be chopped and used in making the sauce.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Pick over the oyster mushrooms, removing and reserving the stalks, and slice the mushroom caps. Remove the stalks from the tarragon and reserve them for the sauce.

To make the sauce, sweat the tarragon stalks, chopped shallots, carrot, celery, bay leaf and thyme in half the butter. Add the chopped chicken carcass and the mushroom trimmings and cook for a few minutes. Pour on the white wine and boil to reduce until almost dry. Add the chicken stock and boil to reduce by three-quarters. Add the cream and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve.

Fry the chicken pieces in the butter and olive oil until coloured then transfer to the pre-heated oven and cook for 20 minutes, checking the breasts after 10 minutes; they may be ready and can be removed. When the chicken is cooked, leave it to rest for 15 minutes. Add the sliced mushroom caps, tarragon leaves and grapes to the sauce and warm them through until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken breasts in half and divide the chicken, giving a piece of breast and leg for each portion. Spoon over the sauce and serve.

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