Wednesday 30 April 2008
Recipe: Chicken with Porcini & Marsala
Who could resist this combination? The seductively earthy tones of porcini, along with Marsala, in all its rich complexity. In Italy, a standard chicken from the local Polleria will have enough flavour to do justice to the dish - but I suspect that in the UK you'll need to shell out for a free-range bird if you want something with sufficient flavour to punch in the same weight as the other ingredients here. The recipe is very straightforward, good enough for a dinner party, and robust enough that you can do the entire thing in advance, and just reheat gently when the time comes to serve it. Since there's a lot going on in this particular dish, then I think it goes best with a vegetable which is plain but good - broccoli, for example, or green beans (something which has a slight crunch to it)
Ingredients: 1 Chicken, cut into eight pieces; 3/4 Cup of dried Porcini; 1 oz Butter; 1 tablespoon Olive Oil; 1 medium White Onion, finely chopped; Seasoning; 1/2 Cup of Flour; 3 fl oz Marsala.
1. Put the Porcini in a heat-proof bowl, cover them with about a pint of boiling water, and leave to steep for twenty minutes or so. After they have soaked for the appropriate time, drain the Porcini through a sieve held over another bowl, to catch the soaking liquid; rinse the Porcini under running water to remove any grit, then chop finely on a board. Place a piece of kitchen paper in the sieve and filter the soaking liquid through it into another bowl or jug, and reserve to use later.
2. Over medium-high heat, melt the Butter with the Oil in a heavy casserole (one that has a lid). Roll the Chicken pieces in Flour, and put them in one layer in the casserole. After two or three minutes - by which time they will have browned on the underside - turn them over, and sprinkle them with the chopped Onion, and add appropriate seasoning. Lightly stir the Onion in, as the underside of the Chicken pieces brown in turn.
3. After a couple of minutes more, add the chopped Porcini, and the Marsala. Let the Marsala bubble slightly in the heat, and stir everything together. Pour over about half of the Porcini soaking liquid (discard the rest, once the recipe is completed), and once the liquid is bubbling, turn the heat down to low and place the lid on the casserole.
4. Leave to cook for fifty minutes or so, by which time the Chicken will be very tender. Check from time to time to see that the casserole is not dry (I find it isn't, but it will depend on the fit of the lid and pan you're using); if it needs more liquid, then add some more of the reserved Porcni soaking liquid.
5. just before serving, lift the Chicken pieces out onto heated serving plates, and pour the cooking juices into a fat strainer; leaving the fat in the strainer, pour the 'sauce' into a small saucepan, and reduce for a minute or so over high heat - you just need a spoonful or so of sauce for each serving - then divide the sauce between the Chicken pieces and serve.