With goats cheese being my new favourite ingredient, I wondered how I would find cooking with another cheese I hadn’t tried until recently.
Port Salut is a mild, creamy cheese that is said to appeal to everyone. It is a fairly soft cheese that comes in wedges and is available from the supermarket.
Like other cheese, Port Salut is particularly good for cooking. Jean Christophe Novelli has come up with a few recipes using the cheese that are listed over on the Port Salut website, and I was sent a couple of wedges of this cheese to try out his ideas. I was immediately inspired by the fricassée recipe, and tried it as a mid-week dinner earlier this week.
Chicken, Leek, Port Salut and Mushroom Fricassée
- 4 x skinned and boneless chicken breasts (cut into thin strips)
- 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into thin slices
- 2 x spring onions (trimmed and chopped into thin roundels)
- 1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed)
- 100g chestnut or button mushrooms (sliced)
- 100g Port Salut (thinly sliced)
- 50g Port Salut (cut into cubes)
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 75ml double cream
- 25g butter
- 1 bunch of chives (chopped)
- 4 slices of wholemeal bread (cut into fingers)
- 25ml olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried herbs
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 1 tsp paprika
- Heat a griddle pan, brush the chicken strips with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika
- Char-grill the chicken until well coloured and cooked through, remove from the pan and keep warm
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat and then add the leeks and spring onions and sweat until tender
- Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and soft
- Add the white wine and cream, and bring to the boil
- Add 100g of Port Salut (thinly sliced) and simmer until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick, and then sprinkle in the chives
- Add the strips of chicken and stir until coated with sauce
- Place in an oven proof serving dish and set to one side
- In a bowl combine the remaining 50g of Port Salut (cut into small cubes) with the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top of the dish
- Bake in a pre heated oven (160°C) until the crumbs are crisp and golden and the cheese has melted (approx. 15 minutes)
For the wholemeal croutons
- Place the bread fingers on a baking tray. Brush with olive oil and dried herbs and season with cracked pepper
- Bake in a hot oven until crisp and golden brown, serve on a side plate alongside the fricassée
I didn’t make the wholemeal croutons because I felt we had enough food, and I made the fricassée itself for two (the above recipe will feed four).
Not being anything like a chef it always worries me when proper chefs come up with recipes – they are often complicated, taking ages, and using ingredients I can’t get. Not so with this one – it was easy peasy. I’ve made fricassée before but not for a very long time – I don’t remember it being as simple as this. The combination of the cheese and cream with the chicken, leeks and mushroom was lovely, and it was a perfect mid-week evening meal.
If I may criticise it a teeny bit I would say I would like more sauce (I should have made sauce for four even though I halved everything else). The other little thing was that once the breadcrumbs came in contact with the sauce (when served up), it went soggy really fast. I’m not a fan of soggy breadcrumbs. Two very small things that I hope help you make yours better than I did.
Recipe aside, the cheese itself is lovely – mild, creamy, soft, great with crackers or in a panini. Because it’s so mild it works well with other flavours such as chutneys or pickles, in fact I’d go as far as saying it kind of needs an additional flavour. Definitely something I’ll be eating again.