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 24, 2014

Magical Mushrooms

On the prairie
In the Spring
There is a phenomenon 
And a rite
As we tramp through the woods
We search for the elusive


Some years are better than others
And found morels are guarded closely
And the spots you find them are secret
For you tell no one!
We've not been out and about
But a friend has!

And he has gifted us!

With a lovely bowl of morels

Which I made into chicken with morels
(it's an Ina recipe and she uses dried . . . but hey, it's much better with fresh ones!)
And since it was spring and asparagus is sprouting, roasted asparagus made the perfect side dish.
If it was a company meal, I would have served the asparagus as a separate course,
followed by the chicken and morels and perhaps some rice to soak up all that wonderful sauce!

And then, once again
Another and a bigger bowl full

Half I froze -- for I'll invite he and his wife over for dinner
And the rest . . .

I made into a creamy mushroom sauce for pasta

Husband Jim pronounced both delicious
And it does seem so like Spring
to once again have morels on our plates!

The pasta dish isn't a recipe as much as it is a method.
I browned the mushrooms in a bit of butter, then added a couple of cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of windowsill chives and sautéed with the mushrooms until I smelled the garlic.    Then I added some white wine (vermouth actually) just enough to deglaze the pan and cooked that down a bit, then a big really big pour of cream and simmered until the cream was thickened.    Then I threw in some Parmesan cheese.      It was fresh pasta (not made by me but made by Butoni -- from the grocery store) and once cooked, I threw it in the pan with the sauce and made sure the pasta was well coated.   I sprinkled some more cheese and chives on top and served.

The chicken is an Ina recipe and I've made it before and it is good.    


1 ounce dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
       (I used all of the morels I had that day, cutting the bigger ones in half)
6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 c. clarified butter (I used regular with a splash of olive oil)
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 T. minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup Maderia
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375

Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid.   Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone.    Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels.    Set aside.   (I omitted this step -- instead washing my mushrooms and drying with a paper towel)

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.    Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess.   Heat half the butter in a large sauté pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes.    Remove to an ovenproof casserole.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels, and garlic.    Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly.    Pour the Madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes.    Add the creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, 1 t. salt and 3/4 t. pepper.    Boil until mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes.    Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.    To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and reheat slowly on top of the stove.

It is Friday and I"m joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.   It's been a while and it's nice to be back!


Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

Funny, just this past weekend my daughter and her fiancee went morel hunting/scouting. They didn't find any this time, but I am going to share this post with her!


Francie Newcomb said...

Martha, that was a magnificent gift and he must be a really good friend. And he must have known how you and Jim would appreciate them. So special!


Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

Your dish looks so wonderful and what good friends you have.

One of my fondest memories is of my Dad taking us morel picking. He taught us how to tell which species were edible and what to stay away from. Mom would sauté them up in butter and serve with steak or chicken. We were in heaven and felt proud we had contributed to such a delicious dinner. Thanks for triggering that memory.


Marilyn Miller said...

I just ate lunch and now my mouth is watering. Oh morels in that beautiful sauce sounds so wonderful.

Bmore Bungalow said...

OMG, that food looks DELICIOUS!