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Recipe: Swedish chicken with morel sauce

Swedish food writer John Duxbury's recipe for chicken with morel sauce is a great way to warm up one of those dull March weekends.

Recipe: Swedish chicken with morel sauce
Chicken with morel sauce. Photo: John Duxbury

Chicken’s mild taste is excellent for showing off the earthy taste of morels and the addition of tarragon brings out the flavour in the chicken.

Morels have a short season from (in a good year) March to May.  They are not easy to find, but you can sometimes find them round scrubby woodland, waste ground or even in gardens.  They are poisonous raw, but perfectly safe when cooked.  They can also be bought on some markets.  Although they are expensive to buy, you don’t actually need many and, to put the price in context, a portion costs less than a pint of beer.

With a little bit of good fortune tarragon will be beginning to show its face as the last of the morels fade away for the year.  It makes for a delicious spring combination and a real party treat fit for any occasion.

Summary

Serves: 2

Level: Easy

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes

Total: 70 minutes

Tips

•  If you can’t find fresh morels it is fine to use dried. Simply allow them to soak for 20 minutes in hot water and then drain thoroughly.

•  If you want to cut down on cream, use white wine instead.

•  If you increase the quantities, be sure to fry the chicken in batches.

Ingredients

50-70 g (2-3 oz) morels
2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 pieces of chicken, skin removed
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon, optional
300 ml (1¼ cups) chicken stock, made with a bouillon cube
35 g (1¼ oz) shallots, peeled and finely chopped (2-4 shallots)
4 tbsp double (heavy) cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dry sherry

Method

1. Cut the morels in half lengthways and then brush clean. Try and avoid washing them but if you do need to pat them dry afterwards.

2. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F, gas 2, fan 140°C).

3. Mix the flour and seasoning on a large plate.

4. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan (skillet). When hot dip both sides of each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour and then fry for about 4 minutes on each side until nicely coloured.

5. Place the chicken pieces in an ovenproof dish and pour half the chicken stock over them. Add the tarragon. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, removing the foil for the last ten minutes.

6. After 20 minutes, melt another tablespoon of butter in a frying pan (skillet) and fry the morels and shallots for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

7. Pour in the other half of the chicken stock and simmer gently.

8. When the chicken is cooked, pour the stock from the chicken into the pan with the morels and return to a rapid simmer for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile cover the chicken with foil again and leave it somewhere warm to relax.

9. Add the cream, lemon juice and sherry to the morel mixture. Let the sauce simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes until it has a nice consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sherry or lemon juice if desired.

10. Whilst the sauce is simmering, carve the chicken into slices. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with rice.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

CO

Swedish recipe of the week: coleslaw with cinnamon

If you have some leftover cinnamon from last week's cinnamon bun day, food writer John Duxbury shares his take on this classic salad, adding his own Swedish twist to it.

Swedish recipe of the week: coleslaw with cinnamon
The finished and garnished coleslaw. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes tend to eat a lot of raw vegetables so it is not surprising that coleslaw makes a regular appearance at mealtimes in Sweden. Adding cinnamon may seem a little strange, but a small amount adds a little interest. It goes well with robust foods such as with venison burgers.

Summary
 
Serves: 4-5

Level: Very easy

Preparation: 5 minutes (Plus 20 minutes for the cabbage to marinate)
 
Takes 25 minutes
 
Ingredients
 
300 g (12 oz) white cabbage (about half a cabbage)
 
1 medium cabbage
 
1 tsp lemon juice
 
1/2 tsp salt
 
1 pinch ground cinnamon
 
5 tbsp mayonnaise
 
Freshly chopped herbs to garnish
 
Method

1. Remove the core of the cabbage and any blemished leaves.

2. Finely chop the cabbage into long thin strips. (You can do this with a julienne slicer fitted to a food processor if you have one.)

3. Peel and thinly slice the carrot.

4. Mix the cabbage, carrot, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss thoroughly. Leave to stand for about 20 minutes.

5. Tip the cabbage and carrot mixture into a colander and drain thoroughly.

6. Add the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.

7. Garnish with a light coating of cinnamon and some chopped herbs.

Tips

– Don't add too much cinnamon. It needs to add interest without being overpowering.

– Don't be tempted to use reduce fat mayonnaise. We were, but the coleslaw wasn't nearly as nice as it somehow seemed to make it greasier. The amount of saturated fat in one portion is, in any case, fairly small, at under 2 grams, so we didn't feel too guilty eating coleslaw made with ordinary mayonnaise!

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of the Swedish Food website.

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