Fennel-crusted Chicken in a Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ed Baines gets creative with an adventurous combination of luxurious morel mushrooms, spicy fennel seeds, and British Stilton cheese
By Ed Baines
Fennel-crusted Chicken in a Wild Mushroom Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the leek and cheese sauce

  • 2 large leeks
  • 55 g butter
  • 2 cloves cloves garlic, sliced
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 100 g stilton cheese
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

For the chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the morel mash

  • 2 Maris Piper potatoes
  • 6 dried morel mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 300 ml chicken stock

Method

1. For the leek sauce, cut the leeks into 3cm batons and drop into boiling salted water; cook for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

2. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat, and soften the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the leeks and pour in the cream. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes - by this stage the sauce should have thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and leave, covered, on one side.

3. For the chicken, preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2. Grind the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle and mix with a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Coat each chicken breast with the spice mixture.

4. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a moderate-high heat. Seal the breasts for 1 minute on both sides, and sprinkle with a little salt.

5. Finish off cooking the breasts in the oven for 20-25 minutes - the juices should run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife. While the chicken is in the oven, make the mashed potato.

6. For the potatoes, peel, quarter, and boil the potatoes in enough lightly salted water to cover. When tender, drain, and return to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and mash using a potato masher. Put a lid on the pan and keep warm.

7. Remove the chicken from the oven and take the breasts out of the pan. Keep warm and leave to one side.

8. Drain the morels and add to the same pan. Pour over the wine and stock. Bring to a boil and cook down until only 3-4 tablespoons of liquid is left in the pan. Add the mushrooms with any reduced juices from the pan to the mashed potatoes.

9. Reheat the leeks in cream and stir in the crumbled Stilton cheese and Dijon mustard.

10. To serve, spoon a generous helping of morel mash on serving plates, top with the chicken breasts, and pour over the warm cheese sauce.

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