The Dish | Chicken with Morels and Asparagus

A terrific centerpiece for any spring dinner party, this dish (Poulet aux Morilles et Asperges for the Francophiles like me) celebrates two of my favorite spring ingredients. Serve with a simple green salad tossed with a handful of your favorite herbs, and finish the meal with strawberries topped with crumbled meringue cookies and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Bon appetit!

P.S. If you love French food (and, well, French anything), check out Lisa Baker Morgan’s blog, Chef Morgan. Morgan hails from Southern California, graduated from USC with a degree in English Literature, and obtained her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She spends half her time in California and the other in France — and offers terrific travel and restaurant tips should you be off to France this summer — or anytime.

  • 4 chicken breasts bone-in and skin on, or 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 16 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 small shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 12 large fresh, cleaned or re-hydrated dried morels 
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2-3 fresh French thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 crispy baguette or boule
  • 12-14 new potatoes (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Clean and trim asparagus (trim the bottoms and peel the outer layer about one inch from the spear). Cut into pieces about 4 inches in length.
  • Place a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the pan is warm, add grapeseed oil. Add the chicken, skin-side down, to the skillet. Cook chicken until you have reached a deep, golden brown color on both sides (use tongs to turn the chicken over). Do not rush this step.
  • Using tongs, remove the chicken from the skillet and place the chicken on a plate. Lower the heat to medium. Pour the cooking fat from the pan into a container to discard later.
  • Add butter to the pan. Add garlic and shallots. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add morels. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Toss morels in butter and cook until the moisture has been cooked out of mushrooms.
  • Add white wine to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any fond from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup of stock. Reduce liquid by half. Add asparagus. Return chicken skin-side up to the pan. Add the rest of the chicken stock (Add more chicken stock if necessary as asparagus needs to be covered; the chicken should not be.) Add thyme. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  • Place skillet in oven. Bake, uncovered until the chicken and potatoes (if adding) are cooked. This will take about 25-30 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Discard. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Add the fresh thyme.
  • You can place the skillet on the table and serve family-style or plate individually by giving each guest a chicken breast with vegetables and garlic. 

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