Chicken in Half Mourning

Chicken in Half Mourning

From Cuisine of the Sun, by François de Mélogue. Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Serves 4 to 6

Preparing the chicken

2 fresh black truffles

1 3-1/2-pound whole chicken

Use a small paring knife to remove the skin of the truffles. Put the peelings in the Madeira you’ll be using for the sauce and set aside (see the sauce instructions, below). Cut the truffles into 1/8-inch slices. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin on the breast from the meat. Gently tuck the truffle slices under the skin. The chicken will almost look black, like a woman in mourning. Put the chicken on a plate and let it sit overnight in the fridge, uncovered, to let the truffle flavor permeate the meat.

Poaching the chicken

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 leek, sliced thin and washed

2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin

1 sprig fresh tarragon

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 quarts chicken stock

Find a sauce pot large enough to hold the chicken and all the chicken stock. Melt the butter and add the sliced leeks and carrots. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes, until soft, stirring often to prevent browning. Add the herbs and the bay leaf and cook a bit more. While the herbs are in the pot, sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the chicken in and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat and poach for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the chicken rest in the liquid for an additional 30 minutes.

Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Keep the chicken moist with a little of the poaching liquid. You can also serve the liquid as a soup, strained or unstrained.

Foie Gras Sauce

¼ cup Madeira

Truffle peelings

½ cup heavy cream, warmed

Juice from half a lemon, or 1 tablespoon Verjus

4 ounces Grade B foie gras, at room temperature

Flaked sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Put the Madeira in a small non-metal bowl and heat it briefly in the microwave to warm it. Add the truffle peelings and leave them in the Madeira while you poach the chicken. When you’re ready to make the sauce, remove the peelings. Combine the Madeira and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Off the heat, start whisking in the foie gras in about 1 tablespoon amounts. Add some of the cream as you do this if needed to make it into a sauce. Then whisk in the remaining cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the sauce warm, but don’t boil it. Put into a sauce bowl and serve with the chicken.