Chicken Morels & Croute aux Morilles

Planning ahead

The dried morels need to be soaked for at least a couple of hours. You can prepare thechicken half an hour in advance and warm it through in the morel sauce toserve. The puff pastry can be cut in advance and stored in the freezer

For the Croute aux Morilles

2                                  puff pastry slices 12cm x 8cm, cooked at 200C for 20 minutes

For the Chicken

30g                               dried morels, soaked in 250ml water for at least 20 minutes2                                  chicken breasts, organic/free-range (180g each), skinned, mini fillet removed15g                               unsalted butter180g                             firm button mushrooms, washed quickly, patted dry and quartered120ml                          dry sherry or Jura wine300ml                          double creamsea saltfreshly ground black pepper

For the Leeks

1                                  medium leeks, trimmed, cut into 2cm pieces and washed100ml                          waterpinch of sea salt10g                               unsalted butter 

To prepare the Morels

Drain the morels, reserving the soaking liquor, and squeeze to extract as much of theliquor as possible. Rinse the morels, drain and squeeze dry. Cut larger morels into smaller pieces; set aside. Pass the reserved liquor through a muslin-lined sieve to remove any sand or grit and save 100ml.

For the Morel Sauce

Add the butter to a pan, soften t button mushrooms, for 1–2 minutes on a medium heatand then add the soaked morels. Add the sherry or wine to the mushrooms and reduce down to get rid of the alcohol. Add the reserved morel liquor and a pinch of salt. Pour in the cream and bring to the boil.

For the Croute aux Morilles

Remove the puff pastry slices from the oven, and while the pastry boxes are still hot, slice the top off each pastry one – this is the lid. Gently scrape out the middle of the rectangle to create a cavity. Put the pastry boxes and lids to one side.Place each warm pastry case in the middle of a plate and spoon the creamy morels into the hollow of the pastry, and over it. Place the pastry lid on top and serve.

For the Leeks

While the chicken is cooking, put the leeks into a saucepan, pour on the water and addthe salt and butter. Reserve to one side until the chicken is cooked.

When you’re ready, Place the saucepan on a high heat, cover with a lid and cook at a fullboil for 4 minutes until tender.

To cook the Chicken

Season the breasts with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over amedium heat until it is foaming. Add the chicken breasts and colour lightly for3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve.

To finish the dish

Using a slotted spoon, lift out the chicken breasts and place in a warm dish; keepwarm. Boil the sauce rapidly to reduce until it is thick enough to coat theback of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the chicken breasts backin the sauce to reheat for 2 minutes.

To serve

With a slotted spoon, lift the leeks from their liquor and arrange on warmed plates.Sit the chicken breasts on top and pour the morel sauce over and around. Bythis time your kitchen will be filled with heavenly smells.Accompany with a chilled bottle of Jura wine for a perfect moment. Bon appétit.