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Chicken with Morels & Sherry

A delicious special occasion dish, based on one made popular by Nico Ladendis at his Chez Nico restaurant in London.

He used Vin Jaune from Alsace, so if you find some, this could replace the Sherry (we've also cut down a little on the morels). But it's very expensive, and as the morels are already pricy - we've saved a little while still leaving you with a top-class dish - suitable for any dinner party.

Don't be alarmed by the quantity of butter!

Ingredients

For 4 main courses:

30g. Dried Morels - find these at www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk/)

4 Chicken Leg & Thigh portions - free range if possible

2 rounded tablespoons (30ml) Flour, seasoned with a little salt & pepper

6 oz/180g Butter

10 fl oz/300ml Amontillado Sherry

15 fl oz/400ml Double Cream

1 teaspoon (5ml) Cornflour

Salt & freshly-ground Pepper to taste

Method

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for about half an hour, stirring them occasionally, to encourage any grit to fall to the bottom.
2. Drain the mushrooms and set they aside, keeping back ¼ pint/150ml of the mushroom liquid – discarding the remainder.
3. Dredge the chicken pieces on all sides with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
4. Heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a deep & heavy frying pan, over a medium heat.
6. When it starts to sizzle, fry the chicken pieces on both sides until they have sealed – and are lightly golden brown.
7. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken to a roasting tray, and gently roast them in the oven for 30 minutes – turning them over halfway through. Keep the frying pan full of buttery juices to finish off your sauce.
8. Return the chicken – plus any roasting pan juices – to the frying pan, and put over a medium heat.
9. Add the reserved soaking juices and the soaked mushrooms, followed by the Sherry.
10. 'Dissolve' the cornflour in a little cold water (this step is only necessary to stabilise the sauce, if you're an experienced cook you might wish to forgo this process – but we recommend it to avoid you sauce splitting).
11. Add the cream to the chicken followed by the dissolved cornflour, and stir well in.
12. Simmer very gently until the sauce thickens a little and would coat the back of a spoon.
13.Check the salt & pepper seasoning is to your taste.

Serve – perhaps with a simple green vegetable and well-seasoned mashed potato to soak up the juices.

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