A French classic that never seems to go out of style, Italy has its own version too called chicken cacciatore. This dish fuses mushrooms and chicken in a rich brown stock (a parent of Espagnole based sauce) The name, literally "hunter's chicken”, harks back to a time when game birds and mushrooms from the woods were a natural autumn combination. Definitely a family dish to enjoy next to the fire place along with mashed potatoes or rice…
*Use veal stock, or 50/50 stock + demi-glace (Watch Veal Stock Demi-Glace Video), or beef stock with 2 beef bouillon cubes. For the aromatics use a couple of bay leaves, thyme, parsley stems and black peppercorns.
Cut chicken half from the joint to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Clean mushrooms, and trim bottoms. Heat up veal stock and let simmer. In a hot pot or dutch oven, sear chicken part on both sides to brown stage with the oil and salt. Transfer into a bowl. Remove some of the fat left in the pot if too greasy. Cook mirepoix (veggies only) for 15 minutes on high heat, stirring every so often (roast them well). Add tomato paste, stir well and cook for an additional 5 min. Add seared chicken parts, the hot veal stock and aromatics. Bring to boil, cover and cook on low heat for an hour. Remove and discard solids and sieve in a saucepan. Put brown stock back on stove, skim off impurities and fat as it continue to simmer and reduce to 1.25 qt (1.25L).
Sauce chasseur (hunter’s sauce) is a simple or compound brown sauce used in French cuisine. It’s generally made using demi-glace or an espagnole sauce as a base, and often includes mushrooms and shallots. It may also include tomatoes and a finishing of fines herbs. In a very hot sautoir or dutch oven, pour in oil and sprinkle some salt. Sear chicken in 2 batches (skin side down first) in both sides and cook in the oven for 45 min at 375ºF/190ºC. Transfer chicken onto a plate to rest. Save rendered chicken juice and add it to the brown stock. In the same pan, melt butter and sauté mushrooms on high heat for 8 min. Throw in shallots, season with salt and cook for 3 to 4 min more. Add porcini powder if desired and flambé with cognac. Deglaze with Chardonnay and reduce to two-third. Sprinkle flour, stir up and add hot stock stirring constantly – bring to a boil and let simmer to thicken. Readjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Dunk chicken in the sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and tarragon. This dish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Rewarm slowly prior serving. Bon appétit!