Nothing should interfere with these special flavors. It would be best to serve only potatoes sautéed in butter, page 526 (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1), or a perfectly seasoned risotto, page 532. Peas, or asparagus tips, or braised onions, page 481, could be added if you feel the necessity for more vegetables.
Serve very good, chilled, white Burgundy such as a Meursault or Montrachet, or an excellent, chateau-bottled white Graves.
- 3 pound ready-to-cook, roasting or frying chicken
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms
- 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch blended with 1 Tbsp. of the cream
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp. minced shallots or green onions
- 1/3 cup medium-dry port
- Lemon juice to taste
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 2 1/2 quart enameled orstainless steel saucepan
- Fireproof casserole dish or chafing dish
Meanwhile, trim and wash the mushrooms. Quarter them if large, leave them whole if small.
Bring 1/4 cup water to boil in the saucepan with the butter, lemon, and salt. Toss in the mushrooms, cover, and boil slowly for 8 minutes. Pour out the cooking liquid and reserve.
Pour the cream and the cornstarch mixture into the mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes. Correct seasoning, and set aside.
When the chicken is done, remove it to a carving board and let it rest at room temperature while completing the sauce.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan. Stir in the shallots or onions and cook slowly for 1 minute. Add the port and the mushroom juice, and boil down rapidly scraping up coagulated roasting juices, until liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the mushrooms and cream and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly. Correct seasoning and add lemon juice to taste.
Smear the inside of the casserole or chafing dish with butter. Rapidly carve the chicken into serving pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and arrange in the casserole or chafing dish.
Set over moderate heat or an alcohol flame until you hear the chicken begin to sizzle. Then pour the cognac over it. Avert your face, and ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole slowly until the flames have subsided. Then pour in the mushroom mixture, tilting the casserole and basting the chicken. Cover and steep for 5 minutes without allowing the sauce to boil. Serve.
Note: Chicken may remain in its casserole over barely simmering water or in the turned-off hot oven with its door ajar, for 10 to 15 minutes, but the sooner it is served, the better it will be.