It had been a hectic schedule lately for the family. My kid was sniffing and it's not looking good... no thanks to the crazy weather lately (I tried to boost up his immune system with vitamins and rest but in the end the cold bugs won!). So, the stove was not much of smoking even though I got lots of recipes to try out... :-(
Still, I managed to sneak into one (or two) of the local supermarkets on my way out to fetch my kid from kindergarten :-P. This time, I found new batches of Eryngii Mushrooms a.k.a King Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii) at quite low price (less than 2 €/pkt of 250 g)! It had been quite sometime I didn't serve this mushroom and buying them in Europe is really expensive as it's considered 'exotic' food along with Oyster Mushrooms, Abalone Mushrooms, Enoki, etc. To read more about this Eryngii mushroom, you can read it here with recipe and an added flavour Ginseng Eryngii Mushroom (haven't find this one for more than 1 year!)
For this hearty 'One Pot' European style recipe, I used deboned chicken thighs and breast meats with smoked bacon. It's easy to make and you can add on other side dishes to it like rice, potatoes, bread, salad, etc. I cooked some left over carrots and zucchini with a knob butter, pinch of salt and few twist of black pepper. Give a quick toss and serve with steamed rice. Oh... one more thing... instead of the usual White Wine used in such recipes, I broke the rule by using Brandy a.k.a Cognac :-P That's what I can find on the shelf at that moment. This French Brandy can be found mostly in Chinese households. You can say that if you want to win the hearts of your potential in-laws of your lady love, this got to be IT when you pay them your first visit and also for birthdays and Chinese New Year (Martell is the best choice so far I'd seen ;-D).
I can say the dish turned out gorgeously creamy, juicy with a hint of brandy and the tender chicken thigh meat was a great substitution that I preferred more from the usual whole chicken! Enjoy cooking it for your next fuss-free meal! :-)
Chicken Tarragon With Eryngii Mushroom
4 pcs Chicken Breasts Fillets/Thighs (about 450 g)
4 rashers Smoked Bacon - cut into strips
150 g Eryngii Mushrooms - thinly sliced
50 ml Olive Oil
80 ml Brandy (or generous amount if you like it more!)
80 ml Fresh Cream
1 Tbl Tomato Paste (15 ml)
1 Tbl Fresh Tarragon - picked, firmly packed (about 4 sprigs)
2-3 stalks Spring Onion - finely chopped
Salt and Freshly grounded Black Pepper to taste
1. Wash chicken pieces thoroughly and trim off excess fat. Remove the skin and debone, if using chicken thighs or you can leave the bones in.
2. Preheat oven to 180 ºC.
3. In a large heavy pan, heat the oil to medium high. Add in the chicken pieces and cook about 2 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove from pan and drain excess oil.
4. In the same oil and pan, add in the sliced smoked bacon. Stir for 2 minutes and add in the sliced Eryngii Mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms slightly wilted.
5. Add in the brandy, tomato paste and tarragon leaves. Stir until mixture boils. Reduce heat and add in fresh cream. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
6. Stir in chopped Spring onions and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Arrange chicken pieces in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Covered and baked in the oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
You can use Button Mushroom or any seasonal mushrooms of your choice for this recipe. Besides using Brandy, you can also use Dry White Wine or Dry Sherry. If you want a healthier version, replace the fresh cream with plain natural yoghurt :-)