Pan-Roasted Chicken in Cream Sauce
This recipe is an adaptation of a dish the chef Angie Mar served at the Beatrice Inn in Manhattan, the chicken crisped in a pan, then napped in a Madeira-laced cream sauce dotted with morels. Which sounds fancy and hard to make but isn't, really. Brown the chicken, and set it aside to rest. Cook the morels in the remaining fat — you could swap them out for another wild mushroom or even button mushrooms in a pinch — and then flash them with Cognac, which you'll find will come in handy again and again once you start cooking with it. (Try it on steak au poivre!) Then build up a sauce with cream and a little butter and crème fraîche for gloss, get the chicken into it and add some fresh savory and tarragon at the end — or just one of those, or neither. Make the dish as you prefer or as you can. It's luxurious, every time.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1chicken, 4 to 4 1/2 pounds, cut into pieces, or some combination of chicken parts on or off the bone, approximately 3 pounds
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- 12to 15 morels or other wild mushrooms, approximately 3 1/2 ounces
- ¼cup Cognac
- 1 ½cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
- ⅔cup heavy cream
- ½cup Madeira wine
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1tablespoon crème fraîche or Greek-style yogurt
- 2teaspoons finely chopped savory
- 1tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
- ½tablespoon finely chopped parsley, to finish
Step 1Season the chicken parts aggressively with salt. Set a Dutch oven or large, high-sided sauté pan over high heat, and swirl the olive oil into it. When it is shimmering and about to smoke, turn the heat to medium high, and working in batches, add the chicken to the pan, skin-side down, setting the pieces aside to rest when they are golden and crisp on one side and just kissed by the heat on the other, approximately 30 minutes for all the meat.
Step 2Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan, then return it to medium-high heat and add the mushrooms, tossing to coat them with fat. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms just begin to soften, approximately 3-4 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the Cognac, and carefully ignite it with a match, or simply cook it on very low heat until the alcohol has evaporated and the mushrooms are glossy.
Step 3Scrape the mushrooms to the sides of the pan, then add to it the chicken pieces, arranged in a single layer if possible. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock around the chicken. It should rise about halfway up each piece. Lower heat to medium, allow the mixture to come to a low simmer, then put a lid on the pan and allow the mixture to cook slowly until the meat has cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.
Step 4Remove the lid from the pan, and transfer the chicken pieces to a platter to rest. Turn the heat to medium high, and allow the chicken stock to reduce by 1/3, then add the heavy cream, and stir to incorporate. Let this mixture simmer for a minute or 2 until it starts to thicken, then add the Madeira, and swirl again to combine.
Step 5Continue cooking the sauce until it can enrobe the back of a spoon, approximately 2-3 minutes more, then stir in the butter, crème fraîche and chopped savory and stir to combine. Turn the heat off, add the tarragon, stir one more time and then return the chicken pieces to the pan. Spoon some sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.