Photo by Graham Steinruck
Provenance of Dish
This is a very easy to prepare, one pan meal that features the flavors of the black morel is inspired by a recipe in Ottolengi’s cookbook entitled ‘Jerusalem’.
1 cup (one oz.) dried black morels
One medium yellow onion
3-5 small garlic cloves
2 large bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 2/3 jasmine or basmati rice
3 + 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter or duck fat
1/4 cup Zante currants (optional)
Fresh parsley or chives
Toasted pecans, chopped
Fresh Lemon slices
1. Add morels and 3c water to a small pot. Bring to a simmer and allow to steep for five minutes. Agitate the mushrooms in the liquid with a spoon to dislodge any ash or sand from the mushrooms. Strain the mushrooms, pressing the excess moisture out with the back of a spoon, set aside to cool, reserving the liquid in a bowl.
2. In a large cast iron skillet (or similar) add the olive oil and slice onion thinly and cook on medium heat until starting to brown. Reduce the heat and continue to cook the onions until they are all starting to caramelize. Slice the garlic cloves thinly and add to the pan and continue to cook until garlic starts to brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
3. Season chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper. In the same pan on medium high heat, sear the chicken thighs on all sides starting with the skin side down. Once nice and browned remove from pan and allow to rest.
4. Add one tbsp of butter or duck fat to the pan. Add the morels and cook for several minutes until they start to brown. Then add the rice, onion and garlic mixture, and currants if using, and continue to cook for another couple minutes until the rice becomes translucent.
5. Meanwhile, pour the reserved mushroom liquid into the small pot, making sure to not pour the very bottom of the liquid into the pot (all the sand and ash will have settled to the bottom). Measure your remaining mushroom liquid. Add water until it reaches 3 cups in total volume (I added approximately 1/2 cup water). Bring to a boil.
6. Once rice is translucent, move the rice from the center of the pan and place the chicken thighs skin side up in the pan. Pour the boiling mushroom liquid around the edge of the pan so that it mixes with the rice. Sprinkle with a half teaspoon of salt. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer for 30 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Remove the lid and replace it with a clean dish towel underneath and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the cloth, and garnish with nuts and parsley. Serve warm with fresh lemon wedges and a fresh salad.