This is a great dish for dinner parties and really isn’t as hard as it looks. The chicken fillet steaks are guaranteed to amaze and your friends will be wondering what sort of chicken they came from. The chicken breasts are cut and shaped to look exactly like a beef fillet steak, otherwise known as “tournedos” and really should be done the day before to give the chicken plenty of time to hold its shape.
Now to the slightly tricky area of pigs caul, this is the lacy lining of a pigs stomach and is used almost like Glad wrap. The neat bit is that as you cook it will practically disappear leaving the shape you want with the mystery of how you did it. Pigs caul is quite hard to find but you should be able to order it through your butcher, remembering to leave yourself enough time to soak it for 24 hours in cold water before you use it.
If Pigs caul is unavailable or a step too far for you, then make up the dish as per the recipe but without the caul. Once set, cut into steaks, season top and bottom leaving the foil and paper wrapped around. Cook in the frying pan sealing the top and bottom and finish in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Once rested, peel away the foil and paper; the Steaks will still hold together.
Chicken Steaks with Chestnut Mushrooms and a Sage and Lemon Sauce
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
100g pigs caul, soaked in water overnight
25g softened butter
225g chestnut mushrooms
Lemon and Sage Sauce:
3 shallots (or 1 medium onion), finely chopped
¼ leek, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1-tablespoon olive oil
300ml champagne or white wine
300ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh Sage, chopped
300ml double cream
Lemon juice to taste
To make the “steaks” take a large rectangle of foil and top with a similar sized sheet of greaseproof paper. Brush the paper with butter.
Squeeze out the pigs caul to remove any excess water and open out on top of the buttered paper.
Remove the small fillets attached to the underside if the chicken breasts and set aside. Now slice through the breasts so that you are left with thin escalope of fundamentally the same size and place side by side on top of the caul. You are covering and area of approximately 20 cm by 15 cm which when rolled will cut into 4 “tournedos”.
Now turning to the small fillets, place in a food processor and blitz to a paste with the sage and seasoning, using a wet palette knife spread the past across the top of the chicken breast, this will help it all hold together.
Carefully roll it all together into a cylinder shape, being careful to keep the caul on the outside and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
When ready for cooking time, pre heat you oven to 200˚c. The chicken “roll” can now be cut into 4 steaks, remove the foil and paper being careful to leave the caul wrapped around and for added security tie one or two lengths of butchers string loosely around.
Seal to a golden brow in a frying pan with a knob of butter, place on an oven tray and season. These chicken Tournedos should take 10-12 minutes in the oven. Once cooked and firm remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.
To prepare sauce: Slice the mushroom and sauté in a hot pan with the remaining butter until tender and well coloured. Remove from the pan and dry on kitchen paper. Now sweat shallots, leek and garlic in the olive oil. Add stock and champagne to the pan and reduce to quarter of original volume. In a second pan, reduce cream to half the original volume. Add stock mix to cream and hand whisk. Add lemon juice, cooked mushrooms, chopped sage and seasoning to taste.
Remove the strings and present on wilted buttered spinach with the mushrooms and sauce spooned over.
This dish cries out for a Viognier. This is a sneaky little devil of a grape that is remarkably hard get a decent crop. Mills reef haven’t made one this year but if we all start asking they might just try again. To be honest their last Viognier was an absolute cracker