Wild Grouse and Morel Marsala
I had this dish for the first time in fall of 2020. One of the few highlights of the year. I got back from a hunting trip up north and my brother was traveling through. He had just recently made chicken marsala with cremini mushrooms and was raving about it and, despite my affinity for seeking out all recipes mushroom, I had never had it. I suggested we use some grouse I harvested from up north and some dried morels I had from May. Naturally, my brother did not argue with this suggestion.
8 grouse breasts or 4 large chicken breasts (~2 lb)
4 oz dried morel mushrooms
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large shallot (minced)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup marsala wine
4 Tbs salted butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1 package linguine pasta
1 bunch parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups flour
Feeds four. If you do not have morels, you can use 8 oz of fresh cremini mushrooms, in this case be sure to have 1 cup of chicken broth or the like on hand. Pro tip: try to time it so that the sauce is simmering and reducing as the poultry comes to temp and the pasta is cooking. This way, when you are serving, the pasta is hot, sauce is hot and poultry is served sizzling over both.
Submerge morels in 2 cups of hot water in bowl and set aside to allow mushrooms to rehydrate.
Meanwhile, In a large resealable bag, use a meat tenderizer to flatten the grouse breasts. If you so choose, you may slice the chicken breast into two large flat pieces to thin it out as well. Dump 2 c of flour into large ziplock and season generously with salt and pepper and paprika, if you like. Drop breasts into bag and coat well with flour. Set aside.
(Picture at left shows two grouse breast and two chicken breast.)
In a large pot boil water with ample salt for the pasta.
In large saucepan, add half of the allotted olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the minced shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally until aromatics are released. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Squeeze moisture out of mushrooms and keep mushroom water to use at a later date in soups or stews. Add mushrooms to garlic and shallot pan and cook until golden brown and soft. Once mushrooms are cooked, add marsala wine and reduce for 3-4 minutes.
In a large cast iron, heat remaining butter and olive oil under medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in saucepan and cook 4-6 minutes on each side until fully cooked and golden brown.
Add pasta to now boiling water and cook to desired tenderness.
While poultry is cooking, the marsala should have reduced by about half and at this point add 1 cup of mushroom liquid (strained if morels were very dirty) and cream and simmer on medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until sauce has reached desired consistency.
Once pasta is done, strain.
Remove poultry from heat once fully cooked and slice.
Using tongs, heap a fair amount of noodles into a pasta bowl. Ladle the mushroom cream sauce over the pasta. Place the grouse or chicken over the sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and parmesan.