Pan-roasting is the easiest way there is to cook chicken. A quick sear and a slightly longer simmer with a flavoured liquid (all in one pan) gives chicken lots of flavour and great texture, too. Mushrooms are an excellent complement – my favourites include cremini, king, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Although they’re often called “wild,” they are actually cultivated and available year-round. True wild mushrooms, such as morels, chanterelles and black trumpet, are foraged and will be available at farmers markets when the weather warms up. Since each mushroom has a different flavour, try to use at least four varieties to make the sauce complex and fragrant. If you can include some foraged ones, all the better. Tear the larger ones into pieces and leave the small ones whole for the best look. Serve the dish simply with buttered orzo and steamed Swiss chard.
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on, about 8 ounces (250 grams)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cold butter cut in pieces
2 tablespoon chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of tarragon. Heat the oil and butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Sear the chicken over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Add shallots to skillet and return to heat. Sauté for 1 minute, then add mushrooms, garlic and remaining tarragon. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms exude their juice and the juice begins to evaporate. Immediately add stock, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Boil together for 1 minute to combine flavours.
Return the chicken to the skillet and place in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness) or until juices are clear. Remove chicken and keep warm. Stir in butter, piece by piece, until incorporated, with the pan off the heat.
Place the mushrooms and sauce on a serving plate and set the chicken on top. Garnish with chives.