Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chicken with Morels

It's time for Foodie Friday hosted by dear Michael at Designs by Gollum. It's a celebration of Cinco De Mayo but alas, our restaurant choices on the prairie are fried chicken, Chinese or Mexican. We chose, therefore, to not do too many of those dishes at Linderhof -- it makes eating out more exciting.

It is Spring and in April and early May on the prairie, one finds many mushrooms. Mushroom hunting takes place on weekends or after dinner. And the mushroom we're all hunting?

In our youth, we were part of the mushroom gatherers. Now, we're content to let the gathering be done by the next generation. We are happy, however, to be the recipient of any and all morels.

A favorite recipe is chicken with morels -- from Ina Garten. Her recipe calls for dried morels which in my opinion are pricey, have to be reconstituted and do not have the flavor of freshly gathered morels.
With a nice "mess" of morels given to us by a friend, dinner of choice is that chicken. It's good, it's easy and we wish that mushroom season lasted a bit longer for this is a spectacular dish. As Thanksgiving is turkey, so spring is chicken with morels. We relish it as many times as we can during morel season.
After one of our spring rains, morels often carpet the forest floor.

The good thing about morels is that unlike other mushrooms there is no "bad" (or poisonous) mushroom that resembles a morel. So if you think it is a morel, it is.

The recipe, from Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Given as printed. My only substitutions were fresh mushrooms which I did not soak and sour cream for cream fraiche (not often found on the prairie)

Chicken with Morels

1 oz. dried morels
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
All purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup clarified butter
1/3 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 T. minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375

Soak morels for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water. Carefully lift them from the water, leaving behind any grit. Rinse gently several times to make certain all the grit has been removed. Dry morels on towel and discard liquid.

Season the flour with salt and pepper before dredging the chicken breasts. In a large saute pan, add half the butter and cook the chicken breasts on medium low to brown. This should take 8 to 10 minutes. When browned, place chicken breasts in casserole dish and set aside.

Leaving the drippings in the saute pan, stir in the remaining butter. Add the shallots, morels and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the Madeira. Turn the heat to high and reduce volume by half. This should take anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche, the heavy cream, lemon juice and a tsp. of salt and 3/4 t. pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Pour the sauce on the chicken in the casserole dish and bake till heated through (15 minutes or so). Serve immediately.


Schnitzel and the Trout said...

I haven't eaten fresh morels in many years, but they are a childhood memories that simply brings back lots of smiles....

Lori E said...

What do morels taste like? I have that same cookbook plus a different one. I love Ina's cooking. Apparently so does my husband because he bought them for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marthat! I don't know if I've ever eaten any morels, but they're certainly a pretty mushroom. Your recipe sounds delish!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Foley said...

Must be the time for morel hunting... The recipe sounds and looks divine!! Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to taste a morel...I love the look of them.

Rattlebridge Farm said...

You have introduced me into something new and wonderful!This looks sooooo good!

Southerncook said...

I love this dish and don't make it often. I never see morels in our area at all. When I make this it is after coming home from a trip from Atlanta at just the right time, when they have morels in Whole Foods (love that store). This is a fabulous dish.


Unknown said...

I have not had morels either and i can't imagine sending our little ones out to "gather" who knows what they would come back with! *grin* thanks for introducing me to them too... I want to try this it looks sinful tho...
Happy Cinco de Mayo
~Really Rainey~

Pondside said...

Like so many others, I've always been a little fearful of gathering mushrooms of any sort. Luckily the outdoor markets here are a good source. I've taken a copy of Barefoot in Paris from the library, and have let it be known that I'd like a copy for my birthday (in case anyone in the family is short of an idea!) I think I'll be trying this recipe out as soon as I've been to the weekend market.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

This looks good Martha. We haven't found Morels in years. We like them fried, like chicken.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I wish I knew where to find some growing in the wild around here! What a delicious-sounding recipe!

Cait O'Connor said...

Never heard of morels before. Tasty recipe too!
Your accompanying photos are lovely.

Chandy said...

Where are you at? I'm coming over and harvest some with you! ;-)

I've always wanted fresh morels but could never find one and here you are walking on a whole carpet. Lucky you!!!

Oh, I'd love to try this recipe so I will take it and keep my fingers crossed. Thanks! ;-)

ellen b. said...

Whoa! This is some seriously good looking food! I love Barefoot Contessa.

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

This looks delicious, Martha. Can't wait to try it!

Kathleen said...

I have never seen one in the wild..must be fun to hunt for them!A treasure!