Ingredients collide. People get crazy. Cooking and recipes become kaleidoscopic matter in my kitchen. And then, BOOM! The unexpected wins out. A recipe that is more than fantastic, it’s a classic. To be added to any cooking school curriculum. After days spent hunkering up and down the pages of Ina Garden’s cookbook collection (I have so many of them! Love Ina!) consider this recipe for Chicken with Mushroom Sauce your caterpillar-butterfly moment, a dish brimming with fresh ingredients, fall flavors, and conversation invitations over dinner. When cooking is this epicurious, why do we need to wake up?
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof
1 chicken (3½ lbs), cut into eights
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves
1 ½ lbs wild mushrooms (such as shitake, chanterelle, oyster, etc)
8 sprigs thyme
¼ cup sherry
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place ½ cup flour in a bowl and dredge the chicken in flour. In a large ovenproof (12-inches) pot such as Le Creuset or any other large pot, heat the oil. Add the chicken in tree batches (don’t crowd the pan) and brown them lightly over medium high heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue until all the chicken is browned.
All the whole garlics, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot and cover over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the brown bits. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken (large pieces first), cover, and place in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (about 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
Remove the chicken to a bowl and discard the thyme. With a fork, mash together the butter and ¼ cup flour and add it to the sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat, for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season to taste (it should be highly seasoned), put the chicken back in the sauce, and serve hot.
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