Creamy Chicken With Mushrooms

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Now that the evenings are drawing and the temperature is dropping, comfort food is top on my list. Combining the earthy goodness and flavour of mushrooms with the comfort of a creamy sauce makes this chicken recipe a favourite in my home.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 500g chicken breast fillets
  • 300ml of half-fat crème fraiche
  • 250g closed cup chestnut mushrooms
  • Handful of dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 300ml of half-fat crème fraiche
  • 250ml of white wine (Chardonnay)
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 1/2tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2tsp sea salt
  • 1tbsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2tbsp oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • Optionally add 3tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp sugar or to taste

Preparation

Try to follow the steps below in order as the timings should allow you to move from one step to the next…

Mushrooms are one of life’s little pleasures. To get that “mushroomy” flavour, simply take a handful of dried Porcini mushrooms and soak in about 200ml of boiling water for about 10 minutes. The mushroom slices will become soft and the water will be infused with the flavour. Much like a mushroom stock!

If you want a really subtle garlic flavour, the best thing you can do is roast the garlic cloves in some foil. Loosely fold the foil around the cloves and pop into the oven at 180 degrees for around 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes before squeezing the garlic “meat” out of the cloves.

We’ll be using the food processor to create our mushroom base, so it makes sense (and saves time!) to dice the chestnut mushrooms using the slicer attachment. Empty into a bowl and cover.

Finely chop all the fresh herbs. By now, the Porcini mushroom slices should be nice and soft. Carefully remove the slices from the stock and place in the food processor. Blend until finely chopped using a little of the water from the stock to help. Try not to pour in any of the sediment at the bottom of the water!

The garlic should now be done, so remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Add the finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to the food processor and give it another spin to mix them in evenly.

Spoon the mixture into a bowl using a spatula to get it all out. Squeeze the garlic “meat” from the cloves into the mixture and mix with a teaspoon to evenly spread the garlic. Cover and set aside.

Trim all the fat and slimy bits from the chicken breasts. Cut into small, bite-sized cubes – around 1cm.

Method

Fry the chicken in a large saucepan on a medium to high heat using a little virgin olive oil – 1tbsp should be plenty – for about 2 minutes, stirring often. You don’t want to completely cook the chicken now, as it will cook further in the sauce. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium. Add a little more olive oil to the pan, let it heat and then add the Porcini mushroom, garlic and herb mixture. Brown the mixture for about a minute or two, being careful not to burn it. Add the cup of wine and let it simmer for a further two minutes, stirring often.

Add the diced chestnut mushrooms and mix in well. You will find that the liquid is quickly soaked up by the raw mushrooms, so add some of the water from the Porcini stock (being careful not pour in any sediment) to the pan. Cover and let it simmer for around two to four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water from the Porcini stock if you need to.

Add the chicken to the pan and stir. Let it heat through for about a minute and then stir in the crème fraiche. Add the saffron, lemon juice (optional) and stir.

Cover with a lid and then simmer for around 10 to 20 minutes stirring often. You want a thickish consistency in the sauce, so vary the cooking time accordingly.

Taste often and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Serve on brown basmati rice.

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