Roast chicken with polenta and wild mushroom sauce

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 1 chicken (2kg)
  • 500 gm duck or goose fat (see note)
  • 20 gm softened butter
  • 100 ml thickened cream, whisked to soft peaks
  •  
  • Mushroom stock
  • 500 gm each button and field mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 375 ml white wine
  • 375 ml Madeira
  • 3 golden shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 black peppercorns
  •  
  • Persillade
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 50 gm fresh coarse breadcrumbs from white bread
  • 2 tbsp curly-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  •  
  • Polenta
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200 gm fine yellow polenta
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock, hot
  • 50 gm Grana Padano, finely grated
  • 100 gm cold unsalted butter, diced
01   Preheat oven to 140C. Cut legs from chicken and set aside. Cut neck, wishbone and wingtips and discard. Remove backbone with poultry scissors and discard, leaving just the breast on the bone. Starting at the neck end, separate skin from breast with your fingertips, then refrigerate until required.
02   Heat fat in a large casserole over medium heat to 120C. Season chicken legs with sea salt, add to casserole, cover with foil and lid, then cook in oven, turning occasionally, until meat starts to fall from the bone (1-1½ hours). Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, then remove legs from fat and refrigerate until required. (Fat can be strained through a fine sieve and refrigerated for another use.)
03   Meanwhile, for mushroom stock, combine ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until infused (1½ hours). Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan (discard solids), simmer over medium heat until reduced by two-thirds (20-25 minutes), set aside.
04   Increase oven to 180C. For persillade, process ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Carefully push persillade underneath skin of chicken breast, ensuring it’s evenly distributed, then rub butter over skin and season to taste. Place on an oven tray and roast until cooked through (50 minutes-1 hour; cover with foil if browning too quickly). Transfer to a wire rack, cover with foil and set aside to rest in a warm place.
05   Meanwhile, for polenta, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until tender (7-10 minutes). Add polenta, then wine, whisking continuously until wine is evaporated (1-2 minutes). Add half the stock, whisking continuously, until absorbed, then add remaining stock, whisking continuously until polenta is tender (20-30 minutes; add more stock if necessary). Add cheese and butter, season to taste, set aside, keep warm.
06   Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add chicken legs, season to taste and cook, turning once, until golden and warmed through (5-7 minutes each side). Place on a wire rack with chicken breast, cover with foil and keep warm.
07   Heat mushroom stock over medium heat, add cream and bring to the boil, whisking continuously for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and season to taste.
08   To serve, remove chicken breast from bone, cut into even pieces. Divide polenta among bowls, top with chicken pieces, season to taste, drizzle with mushroom sauce and serve hot.
Note Duck and goose fat are available from Simon Johnson and select delicatessens.

This recipe is from the June 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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