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SHITAKE-CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH SORREL PURÉE

 

Ingredients:

Sauce:

8 cups sorrel or spinach leaves (10 oz. frozen spinach)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small Spanish onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar (with spinach only)

1 cup chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth

Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

 

Chicken:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1-1/2 pounds shitake mushrooms. Stems removed, coarsely chopped

2 large shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Sea salt and white pepper to taste

6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (2-1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

 

Directions:

Sauce:

Prepare the sorrel by rinsing the leaves and removing the center stem.  Roll the leaves in bundles and cut across into thin strips.  Reserve.  If using spinach, defrost, and squeeze out all the moisture..  Coarsely chop, and reserve.

 

Melt the butter in a small skillet.  Sauté the onion slowly until thoroughly wilted.  Stir in the garlic, broth, vinegar (if using spinach) and broth.  Cook over high heat until reduced by 1/2.  Stir in the sorrel or spinach.  Simmer until the sorrel is wilted.  Puree and set aside.

 

Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a bake sheet with parchment paper.

 

Mushroom crust:

Sauté  the mushrooms, shallots and garlic in a large skillet over medium low heat. In 2 tablespoons olive oil until the pieces are wilted, 4-5 minutes.  Off the heat, allow the mixture to cool.

 

Remove the tenderloin portion from the underside of the chicken breasts.  Scrape out the tendon portion and place pieces in the workbowl of a food processor.  Add the mushroom mixture and pulse until the ingredients form a paste.  Divide this mixture into six equal portions.

 

Lightly salt and pepper each chicken breast half.  Lay a strip of plastic wrap 12" wide on a clean work space.  Center a portion of mushroom paste.  Fold the plastic wrap over the paste and flatten it until it is slightly larger than the breast half.  Open the plastic and place a breast piece, seasoned side down on the crust.  Fold over the plastic wrap to completely seal the breast and crust.  Trim off excess.  Turn the wrapped breast, seam-side down on the prepared bake sheet.  Repeat with remaining pieces.

 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  The plastic will not melt.  Remove and carefully remove the plastic wrap.  Transfer the coated breasts to a foil-lined bake sheet.  Brush the tops with remaining oil and divide  the breadcrumbs among the breasts.

 

Preheat the broiler.  Place breasts 4-6" below the flame and watch from the crumbs to brown before removing.  Allow the chicken breasts to rest for 5 minutes.

 

Reheat the sorrel sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Thickly slice the breastmeat on the diagonal and fan pieces out on a bed of sorrel or spinach sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe adapted from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, May 7, 2000.