HERE IS ANOTHER recipe from the Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook that we make at home at least once or twice a month. The cookbook was referenced in my last column two weeks ago in the January 7 edition of The Cricket. It is simple and makes great leftovers. Porcinis are probably the easiest to find dried mushroom in the grocery stores.
Like so many other fungi, Porchinis grow right here on Cape Ann from summer through late fall, although they can be a bit elusive to find and the bugs love them as much as the humans do, alas. Porcini come from a large family known as the Boletus edulis group, comprised of very similar, deliciously edible Boletes. There are other, similar Boletes with a bit less flavor but also worth considering for this dish such as Butter Boletes and Tylopilus species.
There happened to be wheelbarrows full of the later in the woods here on Cape Ann last summer with all the rain we received.
What you’ll need
- 1 to 1-1/2 C chicken stock
- 3/4 oz dried porcini, or a bit more, as you wish
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 C leeks, sliced lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1" chunks, rinsed well (about 1 big leek)
- 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced garlic
- 6 to 8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
- 1/4 C dry sherry or white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper
- 1 heaping Tbsp. tarragon
Heat a cup of the stock in the microwave and drop in the porcini to reconstitute. While this is happening, sauté the leek in a large skillet in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute. Remove the leeks to a plate and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the rest of the oil to wet the pan, then place the chicken skin-side down and let it cook about 14 minutes until most of the fat cooks out of the skin. You will want to move them around after the skin has seared for about eight (8) minutes, to keep them from sticking and so they all can evenly sear and brown. Turn the thighs over and add the salt and pepper and the wine. Scrape the pan to mix it in while cooking off most of the alcohol. Add the leeks back in and all the other ingredients, cover and let it simmer on medium-low heat a good 30 to 40 minutes. Stir on occasion to mix it all well.
If you feel it's drying out too much, add the extra half cup or more of broth. You can add a bit more cream and most likely a bit more salt too, as you wish. You can vary the liquid amounts in this depending on the heat of your stove and how well your lid fits on your skillet. I have substituted yellow onions, chopped coarsely or I often do this with one (1) leek and one (1) big shallot together.
The flavors of the porcini, cream, chicken and broth meld together really nicely. Serve on a bed of basmati rice to soak up the great juices.
Gary Gilbert lectures about fungi locally and through the Boston Mycological Club. Some of his recipes are featured in “Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook,” a compendium of recipes from myco-chefs throughout the country published this year.