Poulet a la dauphinoise (chicken in the dauphine style)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
220 grams Shelled walnuts *
2 kilograms Roasting chicken;jointed
85 grams Butter
3 tablespoons Walnut oil
110 grams Smoked bacon; cut in strips
1 medium Onion; chopped
5 Shallots; chopped
1 Garlic clove; finely chopped
500 grams Small ceps
1 Bouquet garni
Salt & pepper
4 tablespoons Brandy or marc
120 millilitres Port
1 Egg yolk
2 tablespoons Cream

NB * or 36 nuts in their shells, shelled carefully "Walnut orchards are one of the beauties of the Dordogne and CorrŠze, and of many other parts of southern France such as the Dauphin‚. The rough grey-walled enclosures of green grass, the smooth silver-grey of the trunks, and the yellowing green of the leaves in autumn have a soothing quietness as one drives along the country lanes. Mostly the walnuts will be sold to French and foreign commercial bakers, like Fullers (the Dauphin‚ includes Grenoble, Montelimar and Gap, which are all famous for their confectionery), and to housewives, but some will be turned into a black liqueur, crŠme de noix, or crushed for walnut oil. Once this was much used by painters, but I imagine that the price caused them to turn to cheaper substitutes long ago.

Nowadays walnut oil is a luxury for the knowledgeable cook. Put it at the top of your list of things to bring back from France; it's expensive there, but in England the price seems to jump beyond contemplation. I found this recipe in a French periodical; its combination of walnuts, walnut oil and ceps is unusual and good." When preparing this dish, it is wise to cope with the walnuts well in advance. Choose a peaceful moment, when you can listen to the radio or talk to a friend. Pour boiling water over the shelled nuts, leave them for a few moments, then drain them and remove the fine skins. The fresher the walnuts, the easier this job is - this is really an autumn dish when ceps are in the woods, and the first walnuts arrive from France. I won't deny that this is a fiddly job, but it's worth the trouble because the skins can spoil dishes of this kind with their bitter flavour. Set aside half a dozen of the nicest pieces for final decoration, and put the rest in a bowl beside the other ingredients.

Brown the chicken in half the butter and all the walnut oil, in a large frying pan. Remove to a dish and keep warm. Put the bacon into the pan, and when it colours, remove to the dish of chicken. Finally cook the onion, shallots and garlic in the butter and oil. when they are ready, return the chicken and bacon to the pan. Be careful never to burn the fat, or the flavour of the juices will be spoilt.

Meanwhile cook the ceps in the rest of the butter, and put them into the frying pan with the chicken. Add the walnuts and the bouquet. Flame with half the brandy or marc, then pour in the port.

Cover and simmer about half an hour, or less if the chicken is cooked sooner.

Meanwhile beat up the egg yolk with the cream and remaining brandy.

When the chicken is cooked, arrange it on a serving dish with the ceps, bacon and walnuts. Strain the cooking juices into a pan and thicken with the egg mixture. Cook a moment or two without boiling and pour over the chicken. Decorate with the reserved nuts.

Recipe "The Mushroom Feast" Jane Grigson MMed IMH c/o Georges' Home BBS 2:323/4⅖

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