Chicken and Wild Mushrooms
This is the deliciously autumnal dish that Sylvie prepares one evening when, unexpectedly, Erik invites her to stay and share it with him. His excuse is that she has made too much for one person, but in fact, he is beginning to enjoy her company, and is now able to leave off his mask when they are together. Unfortunately, this is also the night that Erik shows Sylvie his automata of Christine, and things begin to unravel between them.
Just as in Sylvie’s day, you can still find a plethora of wild mushrooms in the street markets of Paris in the fall. These days you can sometimes find fresh wild mushrooms in our supermarkets but if not, the next best thing is to buy some dried ones and reconstitute them by soaking in hot water according to the package instructions. I would say you could try any combination you like, but I would not use dried porcini, which is more Italian anyway, and has quite a strong flavor.
Place a few tablespoons of flour and the salt and pepper in a shallow dish such as a pie pan, add the chicken breasts one or two at a time and dredge in the flour mixture on both sides. Shake off excess. Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a large cast iron skillet and when melted and medium-hot, add the chicken and cook it in two batches (you do not want to overcrowd the pan). Brown on both sides, approximately 8-10 minutes each batch. Remove the browned chicken to an ovenproof casserole dish large enough to hold all six breasts.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet followed by the shallots, drained mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine to the pan and turn the heat up to high. This will help deglaze the pan. Reduce the liquid by half. Now add the crème fraîche, heavy cream, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Cook , stirring gently, over fairly high heat until the mixture starts to thicken, which should take
5 – 10 minutes. Once thickened, pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is hot through. Serve with some nice haricots verts.