Normally I am all for using simple ingredients and turning them into delicious dishes. You really don’t need expensive ingedients to make your food taste good. But there’s no rule without exceptions, and every once in a while I do treat myself for something special.
This is a classic dish from Jura region in France. It is quite simple to make but the ingredients will set you back quite a bit, especially if you decide to use a Bresse chicken for complete Jurassic authenticity. The combination of vin jaune and morels is simply divine and there is no need whatsoever to become creative and try to “improve” this dish that has stood the test of time. Vin jaune is a little bit like unfortified sherry and its taste reminds of it. But replacing vin jaune with sherry would destroy the delicate balance of flavours, just as replacing the morels with other mushrooms would do.
Ingredients (serves 2 or 3):
- 1 chicken, the best quality you can afford
- 2oo ml vin jaune
- 400 + 100 ml light cream (15%)
- 400 + 100 ml chicken stock or broth
- 25 grams dried morel mushrooms.
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Preparation: 15 minutes
- Cooking: 60 minutes (or a bit longer for bigger birds)
Soak the dried morels for at least one hour. Divide the chicken into 8 pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Put some flour onto a plate and turn the chicken pieces in it so their surface is covered.
Heat some butter in a large saucepan and lightly brown the chicken pieces for a few minutes, in batches if necessary. Deglaze with 400 ml chicken stock, add 400 ml cream and the vin jaune. Cook uncovered on medium heat for about 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced somewhat.
In the mean time, preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Strain the morels and rinse them with water in case there is sand sticking to them. You can save the steeping water and reduce it in a small saucpan until it has almost completely evaporated. This essence can be used to give additional flavour to the sauce later.
Heat butter in a small saucepan and sautee the shallots until translucent. Add the morels and sautee for a few more minutes. Then add 100 ml cream and 100 ml chicken stock and let reduce on low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
Arrange the chicken pieces on an ovenproof dish and place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the sauce further medium heat. It it is too thin you can whisk in a little flour that has been delayed with a bit of vin jaune. Here you can also add some of the morel essence, if you chose to make it.
Remove the chicken from the oven, spoon over the mushrooms and cover with sauce. Serve with rice or noodles. The recommended drink should be self-evident.