Today marks the date of my first post on this new food blog. I plan to document my experimentations with food, post recipes and review eateries in London....so here goes!
While in Germany recently before christmas, I went on the mission to cook a nice, hearty and comforting meal for my family and decided to serve up rack of lamb – until I hit the local market and was surprised to find two ingredients I couldn’t resist: Chanterelles (also known as girolles) and white asparagus.
Now, I must confess, neither of these beautiful ingredients are in season in Germany at the moment – the asparagus season runs from April to late June, while chanterelles are found between June and November – which is why I was very surprised when I came across them. While I will always prioritize seasonal produce, I’m not in Germany very often and the complete lack of white asparagus on the English food scene made my hunger get the better of me.
So here’s my recipe for the meal that popped into my head and made me change my shopping list! It’s a beautiful dish, full of flavour – you can substitute the girolles for any other mushroom of your choice and green asparagus will work well with this dish too.
Roasted chicken breast with potato puree, confit garlic, sauteed girolles, white asparagus and a supreme sauce.
- 4 chicken breasts, skin off
- 200g butter
- 4 large potatoes (Maris Piper or other mashing sort)
- 350ml double cream
- 2 shallots
- 200ml white wine
- 350ml good-quality chicken stock
- a generous helping olive or vegetable oil
- 1 or 2 garlic bulbs
- 175g girolles
- 8-12 stalks of white or green asparagus
- a little flour
- aluminium foil
- Preheat the oven to 160 C.
- For the puree, peel the potatoes and dice into small pieces. Boil in salted water until cooked and drain until dry.
- Heat 200ml of the double cream gently together with 100g butter and take off the stove. Add the potatoes and mix well, then use a hand blender until smooth. In order to avoid any lumps, pass through a sieve (or make sure you've blended until every lump is killed!). Season with salt and pepper and freshly grate in some nutmeg. A nice alternative would be to use a small amount of truffle or smoked butter to add flavour to your mash.
- For the confit garlic, remove as many cloves as you would like (allow at least 3 per person) and chop the top off, then peel carefully. Heat enough oil in a pan to cover all the cloves and add the cloves. As soon as it starts bubbling turn the heat down to a very low heat and gently simmer for 30-45 minutes until the garlic turns a light golden brown, then drain. If any skin rises to the top during the process, skim it off. This slow method of cooking really unleashes the natural flavour of the garlic while removing its overpowering qualities when raw.
- For the white asparagus, peel off the bottom 2/3 of the stalk, as the outside is woody and fibrous. Cut the last inch off and blanch for 2 minutes, then reserve in a damp cloth.
- In order to cook the chicken, take a large heavy-based pan and heat around 50g of butter until frothing. I usually add a little oil as well. Then briefly sear the chicken breasts on either side until they have a lovely golden brown colour, season well and remove the pan from the heat. Wrap the chicken breasts individually with aluminium foil and add the parcels to a roasting dish. Place in the oven and cook for not longer than 20 minutes. This method of cooking will ensure that the chicken is cooked in its own juices and therefore is beautifully moist. Let the chicken rest in the foil for 5 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile, to make the sauce, finely chop the shallots. Then use the same pan that you used to sear the chicken and put it back on the heat. Once hot, add a little more butter if needed and lightly cook the shallots on a gentle heat. Then deglaze the pan with the chicken stock (don't use all of it, use as much as you think you need!) and add at least 100ml of white wine. Simmer away and let the sauce reduce, then add some double cream. It is important that you use your intuition with the measurements for this sauce and taste and season regularly! The sauce should coat the back of a spoon and be rich and creamy, but not too thick in consistency. You can always add a little more stock to thin the sauce. If it needs thickening, make a beurre manie (a tbsp flour mixed well with a tbsp of soft butter) and add to the sauce. I must note while I've named it a supreme sauce, it is NOT the classic supreme sauce but rather more a very similar sauce (with just as much flavour!)
- Finally, lightly saute the asparagus and girolles in a pan with some butter and season.
- To assemble, make a circle of the potato puree and place the chicken on top. Lean the asparagus on the chicken and scatter the plate with the confit garlic, girolles and serve with plenty of sauce.