*in Jay-Z voice* “Tim, you did it again. You’re a genius.” Not too often when I’m cooking am I reminded of the fine balance between strict adherence to technique and freestyle improvisation in the kitchen. This recipe is like a dance – you certainly want to follow the rules to coax it into perfection, but there is room for you to do your thang as well. In essence, it’s everything I love about the kitchen. And as I watched my husband take the first bite of the final product and nod his head knowingly that this was something of pure majesty, I loved it all the more.
In Chef Tim Ma’s interview for this site, he talks about the importance of organization in the kitchen. As home cooks, although we don’t go all out with a true mise en place and prep kitchen work, there is something to be said for taking time to lay out all of your ingredients before you launch into the assembly of the dish. This recipe is a great example of this fact – chopping all of your ingredients first and setting up your kitchen before turning on the stove will allow you the luxury of breezing through this one. When you are all finished, you take a bite and marvel at the genius your tucking into without feeling as if you slaved at all.
Tim purports that this dish is an excellent use of many important kitchen techniques – I see it as a reminder of how much there is to learn in the kitchen, far beyond what we’ve learned from our families or from puttering around on our own with a bit of trial and error. Spending the time to figure out how to properly treat ingredients is so very necessary, and though we won’t all have the honor or luxury of attending cooking school, it doesn’t mean we can’t go out of our way with a little self-directed study on proper methods and techniques. Consider this recipe a solid lesson with Chef Tim as the instructor du jour.
Since we don’t have access to a live demonstration of this one (yet), a trickier part of the recipe is in the deboning of the chicken leg and thigh as one piece. While you can absolutely have your butcher do this for you, it’s a lot more interesting to grab a sharp knife and try it out for yourself. I found this old video of Paul Prudhomme doing it, and teacher that I am, I love his level of encouragement offered to newbies trying this for the first time. Yes, you can do this, and no, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before. Now, fancy names be damned, go get yourself some roast chicken and mushroom action.
Roast Chicken Leg and Thigh with Chardonnay Sauce, Trumpet Mushroom Duxelle and Fingerling Potatoes
2 trumpet mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tbs. of butter
half of a lemon, juiced
1 shallot, minced
1 oz. of slab bacon or salt pork
1/4 c. of caramelized onions
2 chicken legs and thighs, deboned
2 tbsp dry chardonnay
4 tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
1 lb. of fingerling potatoes
duck fat (or vegetable oil if you don’t have any)
salt and pepper
Melt 2 tbs. of butter in a large pan over low heat. Add bacon or salt pork and sweat for a few minutes without giving it color. Add shallots and sweat without giving color for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook over low heat, adding a pinch of salt, pepper and the lemon juice. The mushrooms will begin to release water – once the water is completely absorbed, stop cooking. Add caramelized onions and toss to heat. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a new pan that can go into the oven over high heat with a little blended oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Once pan is hot, add chicken legs skin side down and cook over high heat for a minute. Place entire pan in oven and cook until chicken registers 165°, about 10 minutes. Take pan out, remove chicken, drain oil. Deglaze pan with chardonnay, scraping up the brown bits. Reduce wine by half, add stock and reduce by half again. Turn fire off, add 2 tbs. of butter and whisk until incorporated. Place mushroom mix in center of plate, top with chicken, add sauce around, garnish with parsley.
To cook the fingerlings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Drain and dry well. Add about 2 inches of oil (or equivalent amount of duck fat) to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until a piece of bread, when dropped into the oil, browns in 3 seconds. Add the potatoes to the pan, being careful to stand back if the skins sputter a bit. Allow to cook for a minute, remove and drain on paper towels and salt and pepper immediately while still hot. If you’d like to time this all so that the potatoes are finished at the same time as the chicken, cook the potatoes as soon as the chicken goes into the oven.