Chicken with Chardonnay and Chanterelles

I spotted some chanterelles in our local deli yesterday which reminded me I hadn't made this stylish little recipe for a while which comes from my book Cooking with Wine. It is basically an indulgent spin on chicken in white wine and mushroom sauce using wild mushrooms (dried ones work perfectly well) and a decent Chardonnay instead of the dreaded 'cooking wine'. It's worth the extravagance, believe me.

Serves 2
75g fresh or 15g dried chanterelles
40-55 g butter
2 boneless chicken breasts (about 350-400g)
1 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 shallots (about 75g), finely sliced
150 ml subtly oaked new world Chardonnay or white Burgundy*
A good pinch of Spanish sweet smoked paprika (pimenton)
90ml chicken stock (if using fresh chanterelles)
3 tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two coils of dried pappardelle all’uovo or otherwide-ribboned egg pasta (about 100g)
A little freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp very finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

If using dried chanterelles soak them for 10 minutes in just enough lukewarm water to cover. Drain them, reserving their soaking liquid which you should pass through a fine sieve. If using fresh chanterelles, brush them lightly with a soft brush, trim the bases and slice them then saute them lightly in 15g of butter.

Dip the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over a moderate heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 15g of butter and place the chicken breasts in skin side down. Fry for about 2 1/2 -3 minutes until the skin is brown and crisp, turn the chicken over and lightly brown the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan, place in an ovenproof dish, transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Discard the fat, wipe the pan and replace it over a low heat. Add the remaining oil, another 15g of butter and cook the sliced shallots gently for about 5-6 minutes or until soft

Add the paprika, stir, turn up the heat and pour in the Chardonnay. When the sizzling has died down add 90ml of the reserved mushroom water or chicken stock. Turn the heat down again and leave to simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half then strain the sauce into a bowl through a fine sieve. Return the strained sauce to the pan, add the soaked or sauted mushrooms, cover and simmer for another 5-6 minutes.

Check the chicken. If it’s cooked turn off the oven. If not give it another 5 minutes. Put the pasta on to cook. Take the mushrooms off the heat, stir in the cream and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Replace over a very low heat to thicken, stirring occasionally.

When the pasta is cooked drain thoroughly, stir in a small knob of butter and season with a little pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Place the chicken breasts on a chopping board and cut with a sharp knife into five or six thick diagonal slices. Transfer them to warm plates, arrange the pasta alongside and spoon over the mushrooms and cream. Sprinkle with a little finely chopped parsley.

What to drink: The same wine you use for the recipe. I'd suggest something like a mid-priced South African, Chilean or New Zealand Chardonnay. Nothing overly oaky but with some richness and fullness.

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