Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Disappionted - so far that is

So far Its been a disappointing year; for mushrooms that is. I love mushrooms and look forward every year to the fall crops.

First come the ceps. I've never had much luck finding them, but no matter its fun to buy them from the old boys who only turn up at market when they have ceps (or sometimes truffles) to sell. Their prices are good and they're fun to talk to if you can get past the accents. This year, however, to was too dry for too long & there weren't many ceps about. Only a few & those at silly prices. I do love my ceps, but not at 23 Euros per kilo! There were even some at a commercial stall from Belorous! A long way & they were pretty tired looking. Unfortunately, its dried ceps only this year.

Next come the field mushrooms or I should say usually next come the field mushrooms. Not this year. The only ones I've seen were last Friday when I played golf. There were lots on the course. I didn't pick any as I thought it wouldn't be quite right. (It would have been more rewarding than my golf which was even more terrible than usual that day) Beside I know where there are quite a few fields that support field mushrooms including our very own field. This year, however, so far no luck. Still its not too late so I live in hope.

To console myself I'm going to make roast chicken with mushroom & tarragon sauce. You might want to try it as its easy to do & quite delicious. Here's what you do.

  • Buy some chicken pieces. I like to use the leg/thight piece (cuisse in French), but you can use just legs, just thighs or even breasts if you want to spend more money.

  • Pre heat an oven to 180-190 degrees Centigrade. Put the chicken pieces in a roasting pan and season them with salt, pepper, garlic granules (or garlic salt, but if so don't use any regular salt) and herbs de Province. Be generous with the garlic & herbs.

  • Roast until nicely done, but not dried out. This should take 45 minutes to one hour. Its a good idea to start the chicken pieces with their skin side down, then turn them over about half way through cooking. A little basting won't go amiss either as it will help crisp up the skin.

  • While the roasting is going on slice up some regular commercial white mushrooms & if you have them rehydrate some dried wild  mushrooms. (ceps are great as are morilles) After 15 minutes squeeze out most of the water from the dried mushrooms..

  • Take the chicken out of the oven when done & set aside to rest. Immediately put all of the mushrooms in the roasting pan & place the roasting pan ove high heat. Stir the mushrooms well to coat with the pan juices. Then stir frequently until the mushrooms are just barely cooked. They'll turn color & get a bit soft, but hold their shape. DO NOT COOK UNTIL THE MUSHROOMS GIVE UP THEIR WATER!!

  • Pour a generous amount of full cream into the roasting pan & mix well with the mushrooms. Cook quickly to slightly reduce the cream (by quickly I mean no more than 3-4 minutes). Now add a small handfull of fresh tarrogon & stir. (be careful as tarragon is quite strong & will overpower the other flavors if you use too much. If in doubt add a bit at a time & taste until you're happy that the tarrogan flavor is there, but not over powering.)

  • Plate up the chicken pieces and pour the sauce over. Serve with your choice of vegetables.
This simple dish is very satisfying, looks good and tastes delicious.

If only I can find some field mushrooms the sauce would be even better! I'll keeo looking, believe me.

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