Chicken Tetrazzini

 

This meal is sure to please even the pickiest of dinner guests – easy to take along as well to any holiday pot luck.

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As I sit in front of a crackling fire with my precious Lucy at my feet (my Dog) slowly sipping an apple brandy I write this.  Christmas jazz plays in the background and all is right with the world for a moment or two, so I ponder the day.  With Christmas upon us I was reviewing my gift list, checking it twice actually.  I still have a few gifts to buy and recipes to test before the big day.  The season of baking and cooking is now in full swing and my thoughts turn to sherry, not cream sherry but crisp clear dry sherry.  I love the way some wines will actually coax a hunger from deep within, something that makes you want savory delectables.  So I searched my recipes and behold, I have plucked this one from deep within the archives.I am most proud of how the chicken tetrazzini came together as a beautiful meld of sherry, cream and buttery goodness.  I used a very old, about 40 year old, family recipe from our New England kin and followed it to the letter.

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I started with a young tender whole chicken.  The house filled with it’s calming aromas throughout the afternoon.  Boil this slowly to extract every ounce of essence from it.    After slightly cooling in the broth, remove the chicken and shred the meat, adding the skin and bone back to the broth.  This practice gives abundant flavor to the dish.  Cook broth down to about 2 cups of liquid when strained.  It should have a nice full bodied aroma and be very dense in color.  Sauté mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of sherry for 2 to 3 minutes, set aside.  Once the bottle of dry sherry had been opened things began to “warm” up a bit.

 

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So, Back to the recipe.  Strain your broth well in a fine sieve.  Cook and strain your pasta of choice.  Melt 3 more tablespoons of butter and blend in 3 tablespoons of flour, once mixed well add this to broth whisking over low heat until smooth and thick. While stirring the sauce this would be a perfect opportunity to ensure your choice of dry sherry was a good one, taste test thoroughly.  Add heavy cream and sherry to your broth and incorporate well.  Divide the sauce in two parts, add the shredded chicken to one part and the pasta and mushrooms to the other.  Choose a baking dish that has a round or oval shape as it will be most appealing, I did however use my rectangular one which worked out fine.  Coat our dish with butter then add your spaghetti with mushrooms, arrange in the dish with a “bowl” in the center for the chicken and sauce.  Once this is constructed sprinkle with cheese of your choice, I took several slices of smoked gouda cheese and julienned it.  The smoked cheese gave way to joyous marriage with the sherry in this recipe.  Bake this at 350 degrees until browned, about 20-25 minutes.

 

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The rest of sherry is for the evening of delightful eating and merry making you should have.  The best sherry is a chilled sherry, served in a small glass to sip and enjoy the aromas.  It is perfect with a little something to eat.

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

PREP TIME 30 mins

COOK TIME 2.5 hours

TOTAL TIME 3 hours

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 pound Pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry

INSTRUCTIONS

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  1. Prep chicken, place in heavy stock pot, cover with water and 1 Tablespoon salt.  Summer until tender.
  2. Cool in broth until able to handle.
  3. Remove chicken from broth, spread meat, adding skin and bones back into the broth.
  4. Cook broth down to 2 cups after straining.
  5. meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter for 2-3 minutes until tender.
  6. Boil pasta to desired tenderness and drain.
  7. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter, blend in flour until incorporated and add to the broth stirring over low heat until smooth and thick.
  8. Add the cream and sherry to the sauce and mix well.
  9. Divide sauce in two parts.
  10. Add one part to shredded chicken, add the second part to pasta and mushrooms.
  11. Pour pasta mixture into casserole dish, making an area in the middle adding the chicken and sauce there.
  12. Sprinkle with desired cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until brown.

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