Chicken Forestière with Truffle

Chicken Forestière with Truffle

My husband was in London recently and on a whim, bought a black truffle that had just arrived in a new Italian Deli on the King’s Road and brought it home; he adores truffle. It was expensive (about £7) but you don’t need very much and can make it last for several meals. I wasn’t sure I could do it justice at first but the beauty of this small black nugget of earthy flavour is that you don’t actually have to do anything to it for it to enhance a meal. What made it really expensive was the Affetta Tartufi I bought (see photo below)! I’m always interested in quality when buying for my kitchen.

I made mushroom risotto one night: my husband acted the Italian waiter and with “pennacchio” shaved some of the truffle onto our bowls: delicious.

Then last night I cooked chicken forestière and again, we shaved truffle onto the finished dish. We don’t cook as seasonally as we used to, do we? But I do like to try. For example, I wouldn’t dream of using strawberries in December, even if they were available to buy in the supermarket. I also only cook asparagus when the British version is in season in May/June.

Chicken forestière, with its wild and chestnut mushrooms, feels like the perfect autumnal supper so I’m going to tell you how to make it here (adapted from a Diana Henry – who else? – recipe from her book A Bird in the Hand for my AGA):

Chicken Forestière

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken legs, skin on, bone in
  • 20g dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 75ml Madeira (or if you don’t have any, sherry would work)
  • A couple of carrots, cut into batons
  • 175ml of chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g whole button or quartered chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  • Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour over 50ml boiling water. Leave to soak for about 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile, season the chicken and heat a sauté pan on the simmering plate and place the chicken in it in a single layer. No need to add oil at this stage.
  • Brown the chicken on both sides, taking care not turn the pieces over until they can easily be moved, or the skin will tear
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in a dish
  • Pour the chicken fat into a frying pan and put this to one side
  • Add the tablespoon of oil to the sauté pan and cook the onions (slowly in the simmering oven if you like) until soft
  • Deglaze the pan with the madeira and add the carrots, stock, wild mushrooms and their soaking liquor
  • Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes on the simmering plate or if you have time for 30 minutes in the simmering oven
  • Return the chicken to the pan with any juices that have run out of it. Cover and cook, choosing the simmering oven if you have plenty of time (an hour or more) or a hotter oven if you are in a hurry. I wouldn’t leave it in the roasting oven for more than 15 minutes. You could start if off there and then finish it off in the simmering oven
  • Stir in the cream and return to the simmering oven for at least 10 minutes with the lid off
  • Now place your frying pan on the boiling plate to heat the chicken fat and cook the mushrooms briskly until they are golden brown. Season and add to the chicken, stirring gently to combine everything
  • Taste for seasoning and scatter over the chopped parsley
  • The addition of the shaved truffle to individual servings is recommended but not essential

We had ours with steamed new potatoes, broccoli and green beans.

 

 

 

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Another Day, Another Apple Cake

 

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I hope it’s still correct to say apples are in season, because it’s already a couple of weeks since I made this apple cake with autumn in mind and only now am I getting round to writing about it.  On the other hand, it’s not exactly a seasonal cake because we all cook with apples throughout the year and to make this cake I bought Bramley apples from the supermarket.

Regular readers will remember that I like making apple cakes and prefer them to pies and crumbles, partly because they work both as puddings (with whipped cream, say) and as teatime cakes.

You can’t have two many apple cake recipes in your repertoire, in my view, and I’m happy to add this Delia recipe to mine.  The lazy baker in me particularly appreciated the fact that peeling the Bramleys is optional.  That was a no brainer: I didn’t peel them.

To make the job even simpler I used the all-in-one method to mix all the ingredients together before folding in the apples and orange zest.

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Bramley apples
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g butter, softened
  • Grated zest of an orange
  • 1 tbsp milk (if needed)
  • A little icing sugar

Method

  • Conventional oven: pre-heat to 180ºC
  • Grease and base-line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into your mixing bowl and add the butter, sugar and eggs
  • Beat until thoroughly blended.  I used my KitchenAid.  You could use an electric hand whisk
  • Chop the apples into small dice (with or without peel, remember) and fold into the mixture with the orange zest.  Add a little milk if the mixture seems dry
  • Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin
  • Bake in the baking oven of your Aga (or in the centre of a conventional oven at 180ºC) for about 1 hour, but do check on it every 10 minutes or so after the first half hour.  I put a piece of greaseproof paper loosely on top at this point because my cake was looking a little dark
  • The cake is done when it feels springy to touch and is starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto a rack
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve