When I graduated from high school, truffles to me were fancy chocolates from posh downtown boutiques. This year, I attended my 40th high school reunion outside of Philadelphia. Truffles are still chocolates (no longer solely for the posh) and, of course, are named for the wonderful fungus I eventually discovered and over the years have come to love. I much prefer these to the chocolate variety. This recipe is inspired by James Martin’s Forest Chicken recipe.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 large chicken thighs, with skin and bone
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces salt pork
- 6 ounces shallots
- 8 ounces wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles and cremini)
- 1/4 cup madeira
- 1 cup prepared chicken demiglace
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 small summer truffle – about 1/2 ounce
Trim the thighs of excess fat and skin.
Remove the rind from the salt pork, and cut into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch by 1-inch batons/lardons.
Peel the shallots, keeping the root end intact; cut them in half lengthwise, or in quarters, if very large.
Clean the mushrooms with a mushroom brush. Quarter the cremini. Leave the chanterelles whole, unless very large, in which case cut them into quarters, as well.
Prepare the chicken demiglace, and set aside, keeping warm.
Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter to a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Season the trimmed chicken pieces very well with salt and pepper. Add to the pan, skin side down, and fry until deep-golden brown; turn and repeat on the non-skin side.
Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon oil. Fry the salt pork lardons until they have rendered their fat and are crisp, then add the shallots and cook until golden.
Transfer the chicken from the frying pan to the Dutch oven with the lardons and shallots, and continue cooking over medium heat. Pour off most of the drippings from the frying pan, return it to the heat, and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Fry the mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add the Madeira and flambé; add the demiglace, cream, and tarragon, and mix well. Cook until it begins to bubble and form a sauce.
Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken and simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes.
To serve, pile the chicken in a serving bowl, cover in sauce and garnish with truffle shavings. If you aren’t using the truffle, sprinkle with additional tarragon or parsley.