Poulet Chasseur, Hunter’s Chicken
I love how French recipe names often reflect a poetic nature. Dishes on restaurant menus are the same – a translation might be for “Salmon gift-wrapped with its little peas and shallots swimming in a white wine sea”. In English we would just call that steamed salmon with peas, unless we used the French term, “en papillote”.
My husband is an avid mushroom hunter and a French-trained chef. This is the kind of dish he would make after a successful hunt, as it utilizes the fresh flavours. You may smell the forest as you bite into the tender chicken with its velvety sauce.
INGREDIENTS – serves 4
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
4 lb / 2 kg chicken, cut into serving pieces (NOTE: thighs will be more flavourful than breasts, and they stay more moist)
1/2 lb / 250 g mushrooms, sliced (*if you have access to wild mushrooms, use up to 1/2 the total amount with those – e.g. chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, porcinis. Cremini mushrooms add more flavour than white button ones.)
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup / 225 mL white wine
1 cup / 225 mL chicken stock
1-2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp brandy
salt, fresh ground pepper
1 heaping tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped (DO NOT substitute dried – use a paste of fresh tarragon, or make the recipe when you can find the fresh stuff )
1 heaping tsp fresh chervil, finely chopped (you can substitute 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, or omit)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (DO NOT substitute dried – use a paste of fresh parsley, or make the recipe when you can find the fresh stuff )
2 tbsp “beurre manié (made of 1 tbsp butter mixed with 1 tbsp flour)
Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan and sauté the chicken pieces until they are well-browned on all sides (approx. 15 minutes).
Reduce the heat and continue frying for another 10-15 minutes. Test chicken for doneness with a thermometer – it needs to have an internal temperature of 160F. If it is done, remove it from the pan and set aside, covered with foil. If it is over 140F, leave in pan and add mushrooms and shallot, frying for 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken when it reaches 160F internal temperature.
Pour the wine into the pan and bring to a gentle boil for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, 1 tbsp tomato purée, brandy, tarragon and chervil. Stir to mix, then season to taste – add salt, pepper, and more tomato purée if you like.
Add the beurre manié and stir till thickened. Place chicken back in pan and heat gently. Add 1 tsp of parsley and stir to blend.
Serve chicken with sauce poured over top. Garnish with remaining parsley.