Flavored, or compound, butters are among the simplest of the “flavor makers” in the cook’s repertoire, says Chef Ash. On their own they can complement all kinds of grilled, roasted, sauteed or broiled fishes, meats or vegetables throughout the year, but here Ash uses a classic butter flavored with lemon and parsley (called Maitre d’Hotel butter) in a deglazing sauce that bathes sautéed chicken breasts. “This same technique can be used for anything sautéed including fishes or red meats,” says Ash. “One of my favorites is to saute hamburgers and then make a deglazing sauce substituting red wine for the white, beef stock for the chicken.”
This recipe is courtesy of Chef John Ash, John Ash & Company, Santa Rosa, California.
Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Over moderately high heat, heat the oil and butter in a saute pan large enough to hold the chicken in one layer without crowding. Add the chicken skin side down and cook until richly browned and crisp, 5–7 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through but still juicy. To tell when it’s done, prick the chicken with the point of a knife and the juices should run clear with no hints of pink.
Remove the chicken and keep warm. Pour off all but a tablespoon or so of the fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms and saute and stir over moderately high heat until they just begin to color. Add the stock and wine and boil, stirring up all the juices and browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue to boil until liquid has reduced at least by half and is thickened, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the flavored butter, which will melt and thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.
When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer it from the pan to four serving plates, using tongs or a slotted spatula, and leaving the cooking juices in the pan. Add the soaked or fresh morel mushrooms to the chicken cooking liquid and cook the mushrooms in the liquid until they are tender and heated through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drop the asparagus and the carrots into the boiling water with the salt and cook, just until the asparagus is bright green and the carrots are barely tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the vegetables and distribute them evenly between the four serving plates, tucking the vegetables around the breasts of chicken. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle them with the chopped parsley and the freshly ground black pepper.
Stir the sour cream in with the mushrooms and cook just until the cream is piping hot, about 30 seconds. Distribute the mushroom and sour cream sauce over the chicken breasts and serve at once.