Rick Stein's Chicken Legs Stuffed with Mushrooms and Comté
One of the highlights of my trip was going to the Restaurant du Fromage in Malbuisson in the Haut-Jura. I think there were eight courses, all containing prodigious amounts of cheese, lots of it naturally the local one – Comté. I have shamelessly written recipes in Rick Stein's Secret France for three of the courses: the tarte flambée on page 83, fondue on page 44 and this one. The family who run the place are doing very well because they also have a conventional restaurant, loads of hotel rooms and a lively bar, and – as almost always when a family are running a place, waiting, cooking and taking orders – the atmosphere is that bit special. The town of Malbuisson is well worth a visit. I am not familiar with Alpine places in the summer but, as a restaurateur, I’m quite envious of the fact that it was packed out in June and would presumably be crowded with skiers in winter; a double season. Recipe photograph overleaf
|2 tbsp||olive oil|
|200g||Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped|
|1||large clove garlic, finely chopped|
|75g||cream cheese or mascarpone, beaten until soft|
|80g||Comté cheese, finely grated|
|small handful flatleaf parsley, chopped|
|1 tsp||chopped fresh thyme leaves|
|6||chicken legs, bone in and skin on|
|salt and black pepper|
Heat 20g of the butter and a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have given out their liquid and it has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Mix the cream cheese, Comté, parsley and thyme in a bowl, then stir in the cooled mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Place a chicken leg skin-side down. Feel for the thigh bone with your fingers, then with a sharp knife carefully cut down through the flesh either side of the bone. With the tip of the knife, cut around the bone and scrape away the flesh, leaving the bone as clean as possible. Twist the bone at the joint with the drumstick and with scissors or a knife cut out the thigh bone, leaving the drumstick bone in place.
Fill the cavity left by the bone with a sixth of the mushroom stuffing. Using a few cocktail sticks, secure the chicken flesh around the stuffing. Brush the skin with the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the rest of the chicken legs.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C. Brown the chicken legs with the remaining butter in a frying pan, then transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 25–30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the cocktail sticks and serve with any juices from the roasting tin. Good with pommes purée with olive oil (page 239 of Rick Stein's Secret France) and spinach.