I am one of those guys who likes to improvise in the kitchen. The other night, I had a hungry wife, a couple bags of dried porcini, a couple portions of chicken breast and little else. So I whipped this up–and she liked it so much that I made it again for a dinner party.
Here’s what I used (I wouldn’t even dignify this by calling these “ingredients”)
- The chicken, cut into large chunks
- The mushrooms–two 3/4 oz bags of Pistol River dried porcini
- Half a clove of garlic, finely chopped
- A beef stock cube (if you have real beef stock, swell)
- Olive oil
- A half glass of good red wine
- Duck fat or butter
- White flour, salt and pepper
Soak the mushrooms in warm water, then drain thoroughly. While soaking the mushrooms, make approximately 2 1/2 cups of broth with the stock cube and hot water. I am unashamed to admit that I used the microwave.
In a saucepan, place about 4 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic and the mushrooms. Sautee over low fire for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the flame and let the wine evaporate until you can no longer smell it. Lower the flame, add the broth and let simmer.
Place the duck fat in a pan, melt, add the chicken and sautee until almost cooked, stirring very often with a wooden spoon. Then lower the flame and add the contents of the other pan, plus freshly-grated black pepper and a little salt (careful if you used a salted stock-cube). Cover and let simmer.
After about 15 minutes, the whole should still be rather brothy. Dust with a little flour (VERY little–I’m talking a half a pinch at a time) while stirring constantly. Add a bit more flour if needed–until the “gravy” is nice and thick, and voila’, you are ready to eat.
The same concoction is wonderous even on a bed of spaghetti or even boiled rice. It would also make a happy friend to a nice blob of polenta. And in truth, any kind of good mushroom–even portabella–will do just fine.