Roast chicken pieces with morel mushrooms sauce inspired by Jacques Pepin
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Chicken Breast, Demi-Glace, Jacques Pepin, Morels
Heavy 12 inch saute pan or braising dish
1whole chickenroughly 3 lbs preferably organic, quartered, breasts cut in half, thighs de-boned and legs frenched, carcass reserved for stock or soup (see pictures above)
8ouncesfresh morel mushrooms
2teaspoonsfresh chopped thyme
1/4cupshallotdiced 1/4 inch
1/4cupdry sherryhighest quality you feel like buying
1/4cupdry white wine
1/4cupdemi-glaceor very rich, reduced meat stock
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
A few hours before cooking, season the chicken with salt, pepper and thyme and leave in the refrigerator uncovered, turning them over once in a while to allow the skin to dry out, which will make browning them go quicker. (This step is optional but it works like a charm, try it with other meats too).
Clean the morels by trimming the stems, leaving 1/4 inch so that you can peer inside the mushrooms preferably leaving them whole if they're only a few inches tall. If your morels are large, cut them in half or into large pieces. Swish the morels in a sink of cold water, then wrap in towels to weep excess water they've absorbed.
Melt half of the butter on medium heat in a heavy cast iron pan or another heavy bottomed pan. Place the legs in the pan first and cook slowly until browned. Next, add the breast pieces with the bone to the pan skin side down and cook until crisp, followed by the other halves of the breast and lastly the thighs, which you've removed the bone from and will cook the quickest.
Make sure the butter doesn't burn, the pan should only be on medium heat. Cooking the chicken slowly like this takes time on the stove, so be patient, you can also bake them in the oven for a bit if you like.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and allow to rest in an oven on the warm setting, alternately you can flash the pieces of chicken in a hot oven before plating.
Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the shallots and cook for a few minutes, add the morels and cook until they're juices have evaporated and the pan is nearly dry. De-glaze the pan with the wine, reduce by half, then add the sherry to the pan and reduce by half. Add the demi-glace to the pan, then the cream, and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Season the morel sauce to taste with salt, then plate the dish by putting two pieces of chicken (one light meat and one dark, and one piece with a bone preferably) on each plate, then nap with the morels and their sauce and serve immediately. Alternately the chicken can be served family style by putting the chicken in a casserole dish and pouring the sauce and morels over the top.