This is one of the most satisfying recipes I’ve ever created because it started from absolute nothingness. One morning Jennifer said, “I feel like something chickeny for dinner.” I knew I didn’t feel like doing one of my old or standby meals. To understand how this recipe came about it would help to understand that food is never very far from the front of my mind. So, throughout the day various notions flitted through my mind until I was actually in the super market on the way home. First stop was the butcher department, where I picked up some chicken thighs. Then I wandered over to the produce department. “Mushrooms,” I thought, “we both like mushrooms.” My favorites are morels, which were available only dried. So I bought a package and headed for home. I would figure out the rest after I reached my kitchen. The following is what reached the table for dinner that night. It will re-appear frequently.
POACHED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH MOREL MUSHROOM SAUCE
1 ½ oz. package dried morel mushrooms
2 cups hot tap water
3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
½ medium brown onion – sliced thin and quartered
1 ½ Tblsp all purpose flour
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Pinch fleur d sel
¾ tsp dried thyme
2 skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Put mushrooms in a small sauce pan. Cover with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Pour water through strainer into a measuring cup. Reserve water for later use. Rinse mushrooms several times in hot water to remove all grit. Chop mushrooms into moderate size pieces and rinse again.
Heat olive oil in sauce pan. Sautee onions until slightly browned. Sprinkle with flour, stir and cook to brown flour – about 10 minutes. Slowly add mushroom liquid, stirring continuously, allowing it to thicken slightly. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Let simmer on low heat 5 minutes. Place the chicken and the mushrooms in the sauce. Cover the pan and let chicken poach in the sauce 20 minutes. To serve, spoon the sauce and mushrooms over the chicken thighs.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans, spooning some of the sauce and mushrooms on the potatoes.