I love food magazines. I was devastated when I had to leave behind my carefully curated collection back in England when I first moved to Canada, as there simply wasn't enough room to bring them over. I did keep a selection of my favorite Delicious magazines, and a bundle of recipes that I had clipped from others.
When I moved to Canada, my first order of business was to resubscribe to a whole bunch of magazines. During this time, I came across Ricardo, and I bought some intermittently. There is something about buying a magazine, a secret treat, if you will, that makes me happy. Perhaps it is because they aren't that expensive, plus the feel-good factor is pretty high. Researchers call this the 'lipstick economic indicator', as it's been noted that lipstick sales rise when there is an economic downturn – women want to treat themselves to something small and relatively inexpensive, but something that makes them feel good about themselves. My lipsticks are food magazines, as looking the beautifully shot food and recipes gives me a high and allows my own creativity to flow.
I was offered an opportunity to pick a recipe from Ricardo Cuisine's chicken collection and write about my experience. I do love Ricardo's recipes, and I bookmarked several to try out. The recipe that caught my eye, though, was this chicken with morel and chanterelle mushrooms. I love mushrooms and morels are a rare delicacy for us. Luckily for me, local vendor MoNa Foods sell morels and chanterelles when they are in season. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to the farmer's market in time to pick up fresh morels (though, now that I have made and love this recipe, I certainly will), I found some fabulous dried morels from Untamed Feast. They are certainly not cheap, but oh my goodness, are they ever delicious.
The first time I made the recipe, I substituted shiitake and oyster mushrooms, but kept the rest of the recipe the same. It was so good, I knew I had to make it again, and this time I added my own touch to it. I swapped out the whisky for white wine (as the original recipe was pretty strong on the whisky). I used chicken thighs from local poultry farmer Sunworks Farm, instead of a whole chicken cut up. I had some crème fraîche in my fridge, so used that in place of the whipping cream. I also added some thyme leaves, as I thought they would be gorgeous in this recipe (and they were). I also wanted to bulk up the recipe for dinner, so I cooked some local fingerling potatoes and added them to the chicken and sauce when it was almost cooked.
I also made a couple changes to the techniques, as I pulled out the chicken once I browned it and made the sauce, after which I returned the chicken back to the sauce to cook. It was just a little easier to fry the onions that way, and I could scrape up all the lovely caramelized meat from the bottom of the pan.
I tested this recipe on my in-laws and judging from their ecstatic reactions, this recipe was a huge success. So much so that I had to email the recipe to my mom-in-law to make when she got back home. Now that is what I call a truly fabulous recipe.
Chicken With Morel and Chanterelle Mushrooms
Adapted from Ricardo Cuisine (original recipe link)
3/4 cup chicken broth
10 grams dried morel mushrooms
10 grams dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 large bone-in chicken thighs (around 750g total weight)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons thyme leaves, picked, divided
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
10 fingerling potatoes, halved and boiled until just tender
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the chicken broth. Add the dried morel and chanterelle mushrooms, and rehydrate them for 20 - 30 minutes. When the mushrooms are plump, drain the broth. Carefully pour out the broth into a clean bowl, discarding any sandy bits that may have settled at the bottom. Stir in the cornstarch into the broth and add the mushrooms back in. Keep aside.
Skin and trim any fat off the chicken thighs. Season them with a little salt and pepper.
Heat the butter and oil on a medium heat in a heavy based skillet. Add the chicken thighs, and brown all over. Take the chicken pieces out of the pan.
Add the onions to the same pan, and fry for 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves and sauté for a minute. Pour in the wine and let it bubble for two to three minutes, scraping up any leftover caramelized meat.
Add the mustard and crème fraîche, along with the mushrooms and broth and stir. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper.
Return the chicken thighs to the pan, and cover and cook for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Turn the chicken in the sauce, and tuck in the cooked fingerling potatoes around the chicken pieces. Cook for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, if required.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle over the remaining thyme leaves to garnish.
Disclosure: I did not receive any payment for posting this recipe, but I was offered a subscription to Ricardo magazine. I tested the recipe twice and all changes and photographs are my own.