I think I will always see morels as tiny brains. But instead of grossing me out like they did as a child, they now represent for me something with a deep, earthy flavor and folds that hold all the creamy sauce you toss them in.
I also associate morels with the French movie “Amelie.” One of the characters mentions “hare and morels” … I’ve always wondered what exactly that meant.
This dish is one I look forward to making at a dinner party. Simple and elegant for the lowly chicken breast. Morels and creme fraiche are expensive, so this deserves a special occasion.
From Ina Garten.
Chicken with Morels and Creme Fraiche
- 1 package dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 1⁄4 cup melted butter
- 1⁄4 cup chopped shallots (1 large)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
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.
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess. Heat half the butter in a large saute 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 dish.
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 wine into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, cream (if using), lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the 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.
Served with rosemary Parmesan polenta.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo