Hen is a bird with rather tough meat, which does not allow much variation. As the saying goes: "old hens make great stock".
This meat can be used to make a good chickpea stew and good stocks for preparing casseroles, cream soups or stews, but also for wild mushroom casseroles, as in this case, with escarlets (russula), a wild mushroom which is suitable for long cooking periods. Other fresh or confitted mushrooms can be added, such as fredolics (grey knight mushroom), cualbres (another local variety of russula) or sabateres (oyster mushroom) As with all casseroles, this hen, wild mushroom and chestnut dish will taste even better after a few hours or even the next day.
4 garlic cloves
1 slice of bread
1 handful of almonds,hazelnuts and pine nuts
olive oil or pork lard
1 large onion
2 ripe tomatoes
1 dl mature wine
1 dl dry aniseed liqueur
1/2 kg russula mushrooms (Hygrophorus russula)
1/2 kg chestnuts
4 carquinyoli biscuits
salt and pepper
Remove all the feathers and quills from the hen and clean. Cut into small pieces. Reserve the liver and the giblets.
Fry the garlic, almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts separately in a pan with some olive oil or a spoonful of pork lard. Set aside.
In the same pan, brown the hen pieces, the liver and the giblets. When golden brown all over, remove from the pan.
Remove a little fat if there is too much, and add the peeled and finely chopped onion. Stir a little and add the grated tomato.
When the roux is well concentrated, return the hen, the liver and the giblets to the pan, pour over the mature wine and the aniseed liqueur and simmer to reduce.
Cover with chicken stock and simmer gently until the hen is tender.
Meanwhile, clean the wild mushrooms and sauté them in a frying pan with some olive oil.
Make a small cut in the chestnuts and boil in water for ten minutes. Peel.
Add the sweet chestnuts and the wild mushrooms to the casserole 20 minutes before the end of cooking. Simmer for a few minutes more.
Make a picada by chopping the garlic, the carquinyoli biscuits and the nuts. Dissolve this mixture with a little cooking liquid and add to the pan.
Check the seasoning, cook a few more minutes and remove from the heat.