Or, as the French would say “Poulet au Vin Jaune de Jura” — which is the best chicken you can find slowly simmered in wine. Now obtaining the Jura wine was problematic, but we found you can substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino) for the 2 cups of vin juane de Jura. If the end result was any indication, the Jura wine was not missed at all—the meal was fabulous!
According to the online article that accompanied this recipe “The luxurious recipe typically calls for an AOP Poulet de Bresse, a super-high-quality chicken raised in the Alpine region of the same name. While some American farmers are raising the breed stateside, the original French specimens are rarely available in the United States, so in the absence of the “real deal,” use the nicest free-range chicken you can find.” And so we did…
To the sauce, add as many morels as you can afford. When in season, fresh morels are easily substituted for dry—just replace the soaking liquid in the recipe with an equal amount of chicken stock. Well, finding dried morels was easier said than done. After scouring four different grocery stores with no luck, oddly enough it was the least upscale supermarket where we finally scored!
And even though the directions do not indicate to cut the morels, ours were quite large so we quartered them after their 30-minute soak.
Creamy Braised Chicken with Wine and Morels
- 1 oz. dried morels (about 1½ cups)
- 1⁄4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
- One 3- to 4-lb. free-range chicken
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (¾ cup)
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
- 2 cups vin jaune de Jura, divided*
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 oz. crème fraîche
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Crusty bread, noodles, or rice, to serve
- In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Inspect the morels for visible dirt or grit, and brush them off with a moist paper towel. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and add the morels to the water, and set aside to soak. (If the morels aren’t fully submerged, stir them occasionally to make sure they all become rehydrated.)
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and use kitchen shears or a boning knife to trim off the wing flats and tips, reserving them for another use. Separate the chicken into 7 pieces: 2 breasts (on the bone and connected to the wing drum), 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and the backbone. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with ¼ cup of flour and toss until the chicken is coated evenly on all sides.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, and working in batches as needed so as to not crowd the pan, add the chicken parts (including the backbone) skin side down in one layer and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 25 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots soften and lose their color, 3–4 minutes. Using your fingers or a slotted spoon, scoop the morels out of their soaking liquid (reserving the liquid), then add them to the pot and continue cooking for another minute.
- Add 1½ cups of the wine to the pot and cook for a few seconds, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Strain the reserved morel soaking liquid through a very fine mesh sieve or coffee filter and add it to the pot along with the thyme and bay leaf. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer, turning the chicken occasionally until the thigh meat is very tender, 40–50 minutes.
- Use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to the platter and set aside. Return the pan to medium heat and continue simmering the cooking liquid until it has reduced by about a third, 10–12 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- On a cutting board or a plate, use a fork to mash the remaining butter and flour together to form a paste. Whisk the paste into the braising liquid and cook until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, then whisk in the crème fraîche and ¼ cup of wine. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer together until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 10–12 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme stems, and chicken backbone. Add the remaining ¼ cup of wine and cook one more minute more, just to combine the flavors. (Do not cook off the alcohol in this final addition, which is meant to enhance the flavors of the wine added earlier in the process.) Serve hot, with crusty bread, noodles, or rice on the side.
*NOTE: If unable to locate Jura wine, substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino).
Recipe by Tammie Teclemariam for Saveur