Chicken With riesling and Chanterelles

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: For this dish, treat yourself to a good riesling made in Alsace, for cooking and serving. Chanterelles have a fairly short season; although they are the optimum, delicate mushroom of choice here, use your favorite mild-flavored fungus when chanterelles are not around. The final addition of fresh tarragon perfumes each portion in a heavenly way. To clarify butter, place 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook without stirring until it has liquefied, then begin skimming the foam off the top (discarding the foam) until the butter is clear enough to see through to the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and strain the clear butter into a separate container. You should have about 6 tablespoons. The broccoli, onions and mushrooms can be prepared several hours in advance. Adapted from “The Essence of French Cooking,” by Michel Roux.

• 12 small whole onions (slightly larger than pearl onions, or you can use pearl onions)

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• Water

• Fine sea salt

• 10 1/2 oz. broccoli florets

• 7 oz. chanterelles, brushed clean (may substitute oyster or white button mushrooms; see Note)

• 6 tbsp. clarified butter, divided (see Note)

• 1 (3 1/2-lb.) chicken

• 3 shallots, thinly sliced

• 2 sprigs fresh thyme

• 2 fresh bay leaves

• Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, stems reserved

• 2 1/2 c. riesling (see Note)

• 1 1/4 c. good-quality, no-salt-added chicken broth, preferably homemade

• 1 1/4 c. heavy cream

• Freshly ground black pepper

• Juice of  1/2 lemon

Directions

Combine the onions and unsalted butter in a medium saucepan; cover with cool water, add a pinch of salt and place over medium heat; once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are just tender. Remove from the heat; let rest while you prepare other components of the recipe.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli florets; cook for 2 minutes, then drain them and immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath to stop their cooking. Once they’re completely cool, drain in a colander.

Trim the mushroom stems as needed. Heat 3 tablespoons clarified butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and season lightly with salt; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring a few times, just until they have released their moisture. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then perforate the wrap a few times so the mushrooms won’t steam.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (2 wings, 2 leg/thigh pieces, breast halves into 2 pieces each), reserving the back and neck.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons clarified butter in an ovenproof enameled pot (large enough to hold all the chicken) over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces, the back and the neck all over with salt, then add them to the pot, skin side down, working in batches as needed. Cook until lightly browned, turning as needed. Transfer to the oven (with all the pieces in the pot); roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer the meaty chicken pieces to a plate; cover them loosely with aluminum foil, leaving any chicken bits and the back and neck in the pot.

Immediately add the shallots, thyme, bay leaves and stripped tarragon stems to the pot with the roasted back and neck; place over high heat. Add the wine, using a wooden spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds (about 20 minutes), then add the broth. Cook until that has reduced by half (about 12 minutes).

Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cream; cook for 6 minutes or until the sauce has thickened just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Return the sauce to the pot, then use a slotted spoon to add the chicken, onions, broccoli and mushrooms so their collected juices remain behind. Cook over medium-low heat just until warmed through (make sure the chicken has cooked through), then add the lemon juice and two thirds of the tarragon leaves. Transfer to a warmed shallow serving dish; sprinkle with the remaining tarragon and serve right away.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 660 Fat 44 g Sodium 480 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 25 g

Protein 28 g Cholesterol 175 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

 

Cream of Chestnut Soup

Serves 4 to 6 (makes about 5 cups).

Note: There’s such a delicate balance of flavor in this refined version of a winter favorite, with surprisingly little dairy. Start with honey-colored, freshly roasted chestnuts and homemade chicken broth. In this case, using water instead of broth is a smarter choice than going with a commercially produced broth. The recipe calls for a bit of Champagne; crack it open early for the soup and use the rest later in the evening. An immersion blender is not recommended here. To roast chestnuts, place the shell-on chestnuts in a bowl. Cover with just-boiled water; let sit for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Use a sharp paring knife to score an “X” on the flat side of each one. Seal the bunch in an aluminum foil packet; roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cut shells have shriveled a bit and curled back (peek inside the packet to see). Partly open the packet; peel while the chestnuts are still warm/just cool enough to handle. Discard the shells. The chestnuts can be roasted, peeled and refrigerated in an airtight container several days in advance. The soup is best served the same day it’s made. Adapted from “The Essence of French Cooking,” by Michel Roux.

• 10 1/2 oz. fresh, unshelled chestnuts (may substitute 8 1/2 oz. vacuum-packed, peeled chestnuts; see Note).

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 2 large shallots, minced (1/2 c.)

• 1/4-in.-diced celery root (also known as celeriac) to make 1/2 c.

 

• 4 1/2 tbsp. Champagne (may substitute other sparkling white wine)

• 2 1/2 c. no-salt-added chicken broth, preferably homemade (may substitute water; see Note)

• 3 1/2 tbsp. milk

• 3 1/2 tbsp. heavy cream

• Sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Coarsely chop the peeled chestnuts.

Melt the butter in medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the shallots; cook for 1 minute, then add the celery root and chestnuts, stirring to coat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring to make sure no ingredients pick up any color.

Pour in the Champagne; increase the heat to medium; once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and cook for 20 minutes or until the chestnuts are tender.

Add the milk and cream, then season lightly with salt; cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender (preferably high-powered); purée until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, if desired. Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper, as needed.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 180 Fat 8 g Sodium 90 mg

Carbohydrates 24 g Saturated fat 5g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 25 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Champagne Sabayon

Serves 4.

Note: You’ll need a balloon whisk, a sturdy arm and a thermometer for monitoring the sabayon. We like serving this over roasted plums or with fresh raspberries. Chef Michel Roux recommends ladyfingers. Adapted from “The Essence of French Cooking,” by Michel Roux.

• 7 tbsp. good-quality brut Champagne

• 3 egg yolks

• 1/3 c. sugar, preferably superfine

Directions

Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water and place it over medium heat. The water should be barely bubbling — not boiling.

Seat a deep, heatproof mixing bowl over the saucepan (making sure the bowl does not come in contact with the water), then pour the Champagne and egg yolks into it.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Use the balloon whisk to beat constantly for 8 to 10 minutes, showering in the sugar, making sure the water temperature is not too hot (or the eggs will curdle). The sabayon should be at a ribbonlike consistency; keep whisking until the temperature of the sabayon registers 130 to 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat.

Continue to whisk for another minute or two; the sabayon should have thickened, with a foamy, glossy and creamy texture. Remove the bowl from the pan; immediately fill small individual serving bowls or glasses. Serve right away.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 130 Fat 4 g Sodium 10 mg

Carbohydrates 18 g Saturated fat 1 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 140 mg Dietary fiber 0 g