Chicken with morels and a sherry sauce a la Raymond Blanc

This is one of my favourite meals. The only thing that can really go wrong is to overcook the chicken breasts – make sure you follow the recipe well but also give them plenty of resting time when finishing off the sauce. I also find a splash of sherry at the end adds a bit of flavour back that is lost during the cooking process.

Serve with anything, buttered veg and mashed potato is great.

Ingredients

  • 15g/¼oz dried morel mushrooms, soaked in 250ml/9fl oz water overnight
  • 4 chicken breasts, preferably free-range and organic, skin off (about 180g/6oz)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 60g/2¼oz button mushrooms, very firm, washed quickly, quartered
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine or dry sherry, boiled for 30 seconds to remove the alcohol
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream

Method

  1. Drain the morels, squeezing to extract as much of the soaking water as possible, making sure you reserve the water.
  2. Pass the morel liquid through a fine sieve or muslin to remove any grit. Measure out 50ml/2fl oz of the liquid for making the sauce later.
  3. Wash the morels again in plenty of water to remove any sand. Drain and squeeze any excess water from the morels. Chop them roughly and set aside.
  4. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it is foaming. Add the chicken breasts and colour lightly for three minutes on each side, remove from the pan and reserve.
  5. In the butter remaining in the pan used to cook the chicken, soften the soaked, cleaned morels and button mushrooms for 1-2 minutes and season with a pinch of salt. Add the boiled wine or sherry, morel juice and double cream; bring to the boil and place the chicken breasts back into the pan. The cream sauce must cover the breasts. Lower the heat to barely a gentle simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
  6. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and keep warm. Turn the heat up to boil the sauce and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced so that it coats the back of a spoon. Taste and add salt if necessary.

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