Well, this is an interesting one.
“Chasseur” means a sauce containing mushrooms and shallots. it can be a sauce for many meats. Here we have allied it to chicken for a dish with rich, superb flavour. Serve with hot rice or mashed potatoes, crusty bread and separate green salad. Serves four.
In French chasseur means ‘hunter’, and this makes sense when the most important ingredient in this dish is actually mushrooms. I think that means you could likely make a vegetarian version by dropping the meat and adding beans, or perhaps paneer.
Anyhow, the list!
- 1.5kg chicken or similar
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsps oil
- 250g mushrooms
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon tarragon (I had none, so substituted sage from the garden)
- 2 large ripe tomato (I used a tin of Italian tomatoes)
- 6 shallots (or use the pre-prepared fried Asian ones, they’re pretty good)
- 2 tbsps chopped parsley
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
For the brown sauce
- 125g butter(!!)
- 1 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 3 cups water
- 3 chicken stock cubes (I just used 3 cups of chicken stock for this and the previous ingredient)
- salt, pepper.
We made an executive decision after the tedium of the Beggars’ Chicken to get a little creative with the ingredients. I’m trying to stay true to the recipes in the book, but we need to actually be able to eat these things! I’ll admit that this may also have been prompted by Second Chef asking, “Why are all these recipes soooo boring?”
This recipe is actually fairly simple. You make a “brown sauce”, also known as a roux, then add it to your browned meats. It’s actually a pretty basic component skill brought back into to English menus (like NZL and Australia) in the mid-C20th AFAIK. No more boring chuck-it-all-in-the-pot stews!
So, the first thing to do is your prep. Cut your onion and carrot. You want this to be fine enough to saute, but not so fine it’s too time consuming.
When you’re almost done, start to melt the butter in a good heavy skillet over medium heat, then add your vegetables.
The idea is to really brown the onions, which will impart a distinctive flavour to the roux. Do not burn them, and do not cook them too quickly. Just brown them gently. When they’re brown enough, take your quarter cup of flour, and add very slowly.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to add this slowly. If you just dump it all in then the roux will become lumpy and awful. The idea is that the flour and butter slowly combine to make a thick buttery sauce.
As you can see, the butter is bubbling as the flour is added (and, I didn’t brown the onions enough, but no worries).
Stir constantly to break down any small lumps of flour, and to stop the mixture from burning. Once all the flour is in and you have a thick sauce, start adding the chicken stock slowly. This needs to be worked into a simmering roux, and to not cool too much.
Continue to stir and stir until the sauce thickens a second time, then heat on a low-to-medium heat until it reduces to a consistency that leaves a trail when you drag a wooden spoon through it, thusly:
And then you’re almost done! Strain the brown sauce through a sieve, and then discard the carrots and onions to a compost.
I was short on time, so planned to put this brown sauce into the fridge for the next day when we were having dinner. Worked a treat.
The first thing to do is your next set of prep. Chop your mushrooms and crush the garlic.
For those unsure “crush” the garlic means just that. Turn your blade flat and crush the garlic bulb. Don’t get too carried away, the idea is to crush the bulb enough to allow the oils to escape. Crush it too much and the oils and liquid will spill onto the board and not make it to the pot! And for god’s sakes, do not use one of those stupid garlic crusher devices.
Now to build the dish itself. Put the 30g of butter into a heavy-bottomed pot over a medium-high heat, and add the chicken once it’s melted. Brown the chicken all over, then remove it from pot. You can do this in batches or all at once, depending on the amount of pot space you have.
Once the chicken is out, pop the mushrooms and garlic into the pot.
You want to cook the mushrooms until they’re just starting to look tender, then add the white wine.
Bring the wine to a fast simmer. The idea is both to reduce the liquid to about a half, and also to ‘deglaze’ the browned meat stuck to the bottom of the pot. While this is simmering, get your tomatoe ready. I took a tin of tomatoes, and processed them into a paste.
And then you’re ready to compile the dish. Add the brown sauce.
The tomatoes (and add more tomato paste if you wish. I thought we had enough tomato flavour)
And then the sugar and seasonings.
Stir all the ingredients until combined, then return the chicken to the pot.
Stir and bring the dish to the boil. Once it it boils immediately reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 mins. Stir occasionally, and generally have a little relax.
To serve this I put it into a dish and allowed people to take their own. It’s certainly rich-looking. Pop some fresh parsley and some browned shallots on there, and it’s peachy.
And was it boring?
This was a relatively simple dish, and buttery as all get-go. Not something you’d want to eat every week else you’d risk obesity! That said, buttery goodness does make for a delicious dish. Although next time I’ll likely reverse the proportions of mushrooms, probably using the large flat mushrooms, or as many wild mushrooms as I can get, and less chicken.