Chicken Breasts and Morels

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I love morels! I got morels at the farmers’ market this spring, but haven’t gotten a chance to post it until now. They taste woodsy and rich, and they absorb flavors beautifully. They need a sauce that compliments their flavor, yet allows them to stand alone. If you can’t find fresh morels, don’t worry. You can substitute dried with liquid or even sub other mushrooms (not quite as tasty, but still pretty yum).

This is a combo of a couple of recipes to make it my own. I did borrow mostly from the Chicken Breasts and Morels recipe from the Mycological Society of San Francisco‘s cookbook. Many people suggest to soak fresh morels to get off all of the grit. Don’t do it! This mutes their flavor. Just give them a good shake and lightly dab them with a moist cloth. MSSF offers other great morel tips, too.

I paired this dish with my homemade pasta, but that's a recipe for another post.

Ingredients

• 2 dozen fresh morels, sliced (I didn’t quite have this many, so I rehydrated some mixed mushrooms in the beef broth below. Save the juice!)
• 4 chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and pounded flat, lightly floured
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 2 tablespoons Marsala (or more, I don’t judge)
• 1/4 cup beef broth
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 Tablespoon thyme, chopped, to taste
• Salt and pepper

Flour the chicken breasts lightly. Preheat your oven to 250º F. If you’re using dehydrated mushrooms, heat the broth until almost boiling. Turn off the heat and dump in the mushrooms, powder and all. Allow to steep for 30 minutes, depending on the size. Lightly squeeze out the mushrooms and set aside. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE JUICE!!!! It has all the flavor from those itty bitty mushroom bits and you need the broth later.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a sauté pan or skillet. Sauté the chicken quickly, about 3 minutes on each side and remove them to a heated pan or heat proof serving platter.

Deglaze the pan with Marsala wine. Pour the pan drippings and juices over the chicken and stick them in the preheated oven.

Melt the the rest of the butter (3 tablespoons) in the same pan (hooray for less cleaning!). Add the morels (or other mushrooms) and cook until they become semi-dry. Add the beef broth and cream and let it cook down into a sauce. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the chicken breasts on a warm platter and cover with the sauce just before serving.

**Cream wonderfully hides bad dishes. This is not one of them. If you screw something up, just add a bit more.

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