When I was out of town, I picked up the weekend edition of the Financial Times. The real draw was the articles about the young London-based trader who has allegedly engaged in fraud and lost quite a bit of money for UBS. Having friends who work there, I was curious about the details and how this could have taken place with all the supposedly new, stronger risk controls in place. Nestled between the several sections of the paper examining this topic was their magazine. In it, in a section dedicated to food, I found a recipe by British chef and FT columnist Rowley Leigh.
Chicken Chasseur (Hunter’s Chicken) is an elegant take on a pan-cooked chicken dish. It reminds me a little bit of a French version of Chicken Cacciatore (also Hunter’s Chicken) only a bit more dressed up. Leigh brings up two points in his comments that should allay any fears in making this for the first time. Yes, the chicken will cook all the way through, as it is left in the pan to simmer as the sauce builds (this also keeps it juicy and moist). The second is that in general, cooking a chicken cut into pieces is faster than roasting a whole chicken. I’ve used this method a few times and always come up with tasty results.
The first time I made this recipe, I realized that despite the simplicity behind it, one of the keys to building the best flavor possible in this dish is to use the highest quality ingredients to make it. This sounds pretty standard, but it really is best to prepare this when you can get fresh chanterelles (called girolles here) and ripe, meaty, in-season tomatoes. There is a vendor at the Greenmarket from whom I can get locally-sourced mushrooms. He also dries them himself, which worked well, too, when making this. Unfortunately, when I used another store-bought version of dried chanterelles, the results weren’t the same. I’d strongly advise using fresh ones to make this.
Add to the chicken and mushrooms, two ingredients that almost always marry well together, some garlic, shallots, wine, stock, butter, and tarragon. The cooking process blends these all together into a savory broth with several layers of flavors. Your favorite mashed potato recipe and a green vegetable help to round this out and make it a meal. As green beans are also still in season right now, for me, they make the perfect, colorful addition to the plate. This would be a wonderful meal to put together if you have extra time to prepare supper on a weeknight and would definitely take a weekend dinner to a whole new level of delicious. It would also be an impressive dish to pull together for a small dinner party. This one is filled away in my keeper drawer for sure.