Chicken Breast with Chicken Of The Woods and Milkweed Shoots
Serves 4 as an entree
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Chicken of the woods, Skin-on chicken
4chicken breastsskin removed, wing bone attached and trimmed (see picture above)
Flour for dredging the chickenI used wild rice flour
1/2lbfresh milkweed shoots
12ounceschicken of the woods mushroomsas young as possible
1tablespoonfresh chopped parsley
1qthomemade chicken stockoptional
Couple dashes of champagne vinegaroptional
1teaspoonfresh minced garlic
Duck fatanother animal lard or grapeseed oil, as needed for sauteing
Put the chicken stock if using in a saucepot and reduce on medium heat until only 2 cups remain, then season lightly with salt and a dash of vinegar to taste. Reserve the stock and keep hot. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375.
Heat a small pot of salted water. Trim the milkweed shoots by cutting the stalk where it becomes tender like you would asparagus, then remove the leaves from the stalk, until only the young, tender leaves at the top remain. Blanch the milkweed for a few seconds until it turns bright green in the boiling water, then shock in an ice bath to preserve the color, drain and reserve. Alternately, the milkweed shoots could also be chopped into 1 inch pieces and fried in butter instead of blanching and cooking.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil in a large saute pan big enough to accommodate all of the chicken breasts without overcrowding the pan. Season the chicken breasts all over with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour, tap off any excess, and cook until they start to turn golden brown, then put the pan in the oven to finish.
Cook the chicken breasts until the flesh is firm and the juice runs clear around the joint, and no longer. This should take about ten minutes. If the chicken isn't golden brown, put the pan back on the burner for a minute or two and caramelize. Flip the chicken the lightly to cook the other side, then put on a preheated dinner plate. Meanwhile, heat up the blanched milkweed shoots in some of the butter, double check the seasoning, and put on the plate with the chicken and keep warm.
Lastly, remove any oil from the pan you cooked the chicken in, but don't clean it. Add two tablespoons of the animal fat or oil and heat until nearly smoking. Add the chicken of the woods mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized and cooked through. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute more. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste, then finish by adding a tablespoon of unsalted butter to them. Spoon the mushrooms and butter on top of the chicken breasts, then ladle 1/4 cups of the hot chicken jus onto each plate, garnish with the chive blossoms if using and serve immediately.
You could just as easily leave the skin on the chicken breast and get it all crispy in the pan, if you do, serve the mushrooms on the side so they don't steam the skin and make it soggy.I like lighter dishes in warmer weather, which is why this is garnished with chicken jus, but the mushrooms in a cream sauce would be great in the fall.