Chicken Chasseur (Hunters Style) is an old-school, classic French recipe that deserves your renewed attention, Citizens!
The name derives from badly-shot game or tough old birds. The birds were always cut up to remove lead shot or torn parts, and often cooked all day on the back of the range if they were old or tough. The original recipe used wild duck and I still personally prefer duck over chicken in this recipe.
The use of wine, tomatoes, herbs, a touch of brandy and long, slow cooking makes this not only tender and flavorful but rather easy to prepare.
My version is especially savory with its use of duck, the addition of dried porcini mushrooms and some fine cognac, but all of these are optional. The original recipe I derived mine from is by the inestimable Jacques Pepin.
Serve with some crusty French bread, mashed potatoes or perhaps some quinoa to soak up the tasty gravy!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
8 skinless chicken thighs, with all surrounding fat removed (about 2 pounds) (I prefer 2 pounds of skinned duck legs or thighs)
1 small leek (5 ounces), trimmed, cleaned,
and coarsely chopped (1 ¾ cups)
1 medium onion (4 ounces), peeled
and chopped (1 cup)
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (15 ounces) whole peeled
tomatoes in juice
5 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed,
and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
10 medium mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
6 ounces dried porcini mushrooms (or use regular mushrooms if unavailable)
3 tbsp cognac (optional but recommended)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
If using, soak the dried mushrooms in hot white wine, leave for 30 minutes until soft.
Heat the olive oil until it is hot in a large nonstick skillet.
Add the chicken thighs or duck in one layer, and cook them for 5 minutes on each side over medium to high heat.
Transfer the meat to a large, sturdy saucepan, arranging them side by side in a single layer in the pan.
To the drippings in the skillet add the leek and onion, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the flour, mix it in well, and cook for about 30 seconds.
Then mix in the wine (be careful not to add mushroom sediment at bottom if it was used to rehydrate dried mushrooms!) and tomatoes.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and pour it into the saucepan containing the chicken.
Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, cognac (if using) and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the chicken from scorching, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle on the tarragon and mix it in. Serve with some of the vegetables and surrounding liquid.