Stuffing mushrooms in chicken legs is a long-standing pastime of the French. Move that dish into the high pastures of the Haut-Jura, the local cheese gets added, and the result is a beautiful-but-simple weekday chicken fricassee.
The dish given here comes from the aptly named Restaurant du Fromage in Malbuisson, Haut-Jura. Restaurant du Fromage is one of three restaurants in the Hotel du Lac complex. The recipe was related to the Brits by Rick Stein when he went on a purine-fuelled cheese tour of the Comté-producing areas of the French Alps. In between hallucinogenic cheese dreams, he managed to pen the recipe for Restaurant du Fromage’s cheese and mushroom-stuffed chicken leg. I have adapted that recipe a bit here because I think I can make a better sauce than the simple one offered by the BBC web site.
Restaurant du Fromage can be found in Hotel du Lac, 65 Grande rue, 25160 Malbuisson, Haut-Jura, France. The legs version of the dish is currently missing from the menu, but there is a breast based version going by the name of ‘filet poulet au Comté.’
Cuisse de poulet farcie au Comté et champignons
- For the stuffing:
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200g mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 75g cream cheese, beaten until soft
- 75g Comté, finely grated
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- For the chicken:
- 6 chicken legs (thigh and leg together), bone in and skin on
- For the sauce:
- 1L of chicken stock
- 1 Knorr beef stock pot, or 2 tbsp demi glace
- 30g butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Begin by putting the chicken stock on the stove and reducing it to one quarter its original volume. Reserve.
For the stuffing, heat the butter and oil in a sauté pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook that out on medium-low until all the moisture is gone. Cool. Mix the cheeses and herbs together, and add the cooled mushrooms. Season well.
To prepare the chicken, cut alongside the thigh bones and carefully cut around to remove the bones with as little loss of flesh as possible. Keep the drumstick bones in.
To stuff, fill the cavities left by the bones with the cheese and mushroom mixture and secure with about 3 cocktail sticks per leg. Brush over with oil and season well.
To cook, heat an oven to 200˚C. In an oven-proof pan or roasting tin, melt the butter and fry the chicken legs on both sides until brown. Put the pan/tin in the oven and roast for 30 mins until juices run clear. Remove the legs to a plate.
To finish the sauce, heat the pan on the stove and add the stock to deglaze. Whisk up all the crispy bits and combine with the stock. Add the stock pot or demi glace and whisk smooth. Finish by adding the butter, whisking to melt and straining the sauce into a jug.
Carve and serve with pomme puree and green beans.