This Poached Chicken with Mushrooms and Shallots recipe is very loosely based on a French chicken fricassée dish that generally includes poultry with shallots and sautéed mushrooms. As it’s finally summer – yes! – I wanted something full of flavour, easy to make and light in texture. So, no heavy cream or egg yolks in this sauce.
Oh no, instead I’m adding a runny roux of plain flour and olive oil to thicken the sauce slightly. As there’s a heatwave outside I didn’t want to roast this in the oven as it should be. Come Autumn and that would be preferable. I’d also thicken this with a roux of hazelnut flour and olive oil and a little single/light cream to gain that luxurious texture – if I can find the hazelnut flour. The mini baked potatoes are small new potatoes that, again, I’ve cooked on the hob/stove instead of having to bake them in the oven. I’m keeping them whole and using a heavy cast iron saucepan, with a lid slightly off skew to allow for any steam to escape. On low heat they cooked far quicker than I thought they would, in only about 30 minutes. And, pleased to say, mashed into this thin sauce they were incredibly tasty – creamy, smooth and slightly sweet. OK, perhaps not as crisp on the outside as oven baked. Still, all of that flavour on one plate without the heat of a steamy kitchen!
Poached Chicken with Mushrooms and Shallots, and mini baked potatoes
- 1 x medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 x medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 x celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 x plump garlic cloves, in their shell
- 2 x dried bay leaves
- 20 x juniper berries
- 4 x small sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 x parsley stalks
- 500ml (1.05 pt US Liq) x cold water
- 500g (17.63 oz) x chicken leg quarters, skin and excess fat removed and discarded, cut into thighs and drumsticks
- 1 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
- rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 x tablespoon plain flour, for the roux
- 400g (14.10 oz) x small new potatoes (I’m using Maris Peer), scrubbed and kept whole
- 200g (7.05 oz) x small round shallots, peeled and trimmed
- 200g (7.05 oz) x closed cup mushrooms, wiped and roughly chopped (this should be made with button mushrooms, if you can find them)
- single/light cream – optional
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Add all 11 numbered ingredients to a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once during simmering and submerging them completely within the stock. Test a thigh with a skewer and if any pink juice runs they will need to be cooked for a further 10 – 20 minutes. After that time remove the chicken pieces along with the bay leaves and garlic. Allow to cool slightly before pouring the stock through a metal colander into a suitable bowl. Then, pour the stock through a fine wire metal sieve to remove any sediment. Set aside until the potatoes, mushrooms and shallots are cooked.
- When ready to cook the potatoes add them to a heavy cast iron saucepan with a lid. Put on heat No 2, keeping the lid just off slightly to allow steam to escape and turn them over once during cooking time. Mine cooked within 30 minutes, larger will take 40 – 60, depending on size. As I cooked larger the following day I had to cook them with the lid just skewed enough to allow steam to escape, then, once their skins were starting to crisp I had to put the lid properly in place as otherwise they would take for ever to cook. About 15 minutes before serving I cranked the lid again to let them dry out, and reduced the heat to No 1. To check them gently squeeze both ends at the same time and if there is give in their centres they should be cooked.
- In the meantime put a large heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 4. When mushrooms are prepared pour in enough oil to cover the base of pan. Add the mushrooms and stir through occasionally. When they start to leach their brown liquid reduce the heat to No 3 and stir often to prevent any scorching and to get them as evenly golden as possible, reducing heat even more if necessary to prevent scorching. When ready remove to a covered bowl and set aside. Grab any sediment from the pan with a little of the stock – it’s all flavour!
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan or pan on heat No 2. Pour in a glug of oil and add the shallots. Cover with a lid for the first 10 – 15 minutes, remove and continue to pan-fry them until nicely golden on both sides. When nicely golden remove and add to the mushrooms. Again, like the mushrooms pour in a little stock, swirl and grab all of the sediment.
- To thicken the sauce put a small saucepan on heat No 1. Add the flour and the same of oil and stir through. When bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Put back on heat again to fully cook out the taste of the raw flour. Do this about 3 times, without allowing the roux to turn brown. When the sauce needs to be reheated simply pour this into its saucepan, put back on heat No 3 or 4 and bring to bear boiling point stirring continuously. Lower heat to No 2 and add the chicken to reheat. Reduce heat to No 1 if necessary and cover with a lid.
- To assemble I just add chicken to deep plates, pour over lots of sauce, then and the potatoes, mushrooms and shallots separately. Those can be added to the sauce, but they can lose quite a lot of their nice golden colour. Season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, smash the potatoes and slurp!
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