Chef Stellino: Chicken Scaloppine with Leeks and Morels Sauce

Serves 4

2 pounds chicken scaloppine, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
8 to 10 tablespoons extra light olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

For the leeks and morels sauce:
5 cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 leeks, white part only, cut in half and then thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped (about 2 to 3 garlic cloves)
2½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut in small dice
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in small dice
¾ cup sherry

½ cup cream (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the leeks and morels sauce:

Bring the chicken stock to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the morels. Mix well and let the dried morels steep in the hot stock for 30 minutes. Strain the mushrooms and reserve both the stock and the mushrooms for later use. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut the morels in half lengthwise.

In a saucepan, add the olive oil and cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the leeks, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ½ tablespoon parsley, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring well. Add the bell peppers and the reserved morels, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring well. Increase the heat to high and add the sherry. Stir well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the sherry is reduced by half.

Add the strained chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the sauce into another saucepan. Place the strained leeks-peppers-morels mixture in another saucepan and keep warm to serve later, with the scaloppine. For presentation purposes, pick 12 of the best-looking pieces of morels to decorate the 4 servings of scaloppine. Place the morel pieces in a small saucepan and keep warm.

Bring the strained sauce to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. The sauce can be made up to this point the day before. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 2 days.

When ready to serve, add the optional cream and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes, then add the butter and stir well until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, and serve.

To prepare the scaloppine:

Sprinkle the scaloppine with the salt and pepper. Dust the scaloppine lightly with the flour, shaking to remove the excess. Heat half of the olive oil in a large saucepan on high, and quickly brown half of the chicken on both sides for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a paper-lined platter. Cover with foil and keep warm. Add the remaining oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

Add the Parmesan to the leeks-peppers-morels mixture left over from the preparation of the leeks and morels sauce, and keep warm over low heat.

To serve:

Place a quarter of the leeks-peppers-morels mixture in the middle of each plate. Place the chicken scaloppine around the mixture and drizzle the sauce around each serving. Decorate by placing 3 pieces of the warm morels reserved from the leeks-peppers-morels mixture on top of each serving of scaloppine.