***Now that the holidays are over (and the wedding cake is finished!), I finally have time to sift through the new cookbooks that I got for Christmas and try out some of the recipes. I present to you...the first one!
As I mentioned before, Joel Rubuchon is the man...he's even been proclaimed the "Chef of the Century." In his wonderful cookbook, "The Complete Rubuchon", he shares a multitude of fabulous French recipes in what some call the "Joy of Cooking" for French cuisine.
This seemed like a great recipe to start with. It's got a classically delicious flavor...not too fussy or complicated but with a complex flavor. I think you'll love this one!***
Chicken with Mushroom and Tarragon
(Poulet aux champignons et a l'estragon)
From: The Complete Rubuchon by Joel Rubuchon
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
3/4 lb. small white button mushrooms, stem ends trimmed, caps rinsed clean, and drained; quarter them if they are on the large side
2 tbsp. butter
1 free-range chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., cut into 8 pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 4 stems parsley, wrapped and tied in a green leek if possible)
2 cloves garlic, peeled, degermed, and minced
5 shallots, peeled and minced
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (I took a shortcut here and used a can of diced tomatoes)
2 tbsp. minced tarragon
Put the mushrooms in a saucepan with 3 tbsp. water and 1 scant tbsp. butter. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and save their cooking liquid.
Season each piece of chicken with a good pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. In a Dutch Oven just large enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single layer, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and then 1 tbsp. butter. When the butter foams, turn the heat to low and add the pieces of chicken, nestled against each other. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to brown, turning to color evenly. Add the wine, bouquet garni, garlic, and shallots. Scatter the diced tomatoes and sprinkle 1 tbsp. tarragon. Add the mushroom cooking juice and bring the liquid to a "shiver" just below the boiling point. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
At the end of cooking, add the mushrooms to the pot just long enough to warm them. Sprinkle the chicken with the rest of the tarragon and taste for salt and pepper.