Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Roasted Porcini Chicken: They Call Me Mimi

Lo: How about Porcini chicken for dinner tonight?
Peef: You want to make a Puccini chicken?
Lo: NO -- PORCINI chicken.
Peef: Oh, ok. Can we call the chicken Mimi?
Lo: What?! Um... no.  Besides, I don't like to name my food, remember?
Peef: Oh, yeah.

(After some time)

Peef: Is it ok if I call her Mimi?
Lo: Do what you must, just keep it to yourself.
Peef (Out loud): Come here, little Mimi, let me get my hands under your skin.
Lo (now disgusted): PEEF! Enough!

This scenerio may or may not have actually taken place in the Burp! kitchen.  Nonetheless, we like the idea of a little opera singing chicken named Mimi.

For those completely lacking in knowlege of opera trivia, Puccini (a pretty famous opera composer) just happened to have a little opera by the name of La Boheme.  It wasn't exactly about a chicken. But, well, you'll forgive us for our imagination, won't you?

The fact is, there is a character in La Boheme whose name is Mimi... well, Lucia, but people call her Mimi. And Mimi is just lovely (much like this chicken recipe).

If you're in the mood for a bit of culture while we're cooking, here's a snippet of the wonderful and talented Maria Callas singing Mi Chiamano Mimi.

 Italian not so good?
Well,  that's not a problem. The gist is that Mimi just met her neighbor, Rodolfo, who happens to be a writer. They are attracted to each other and she sings him this aria which mentions something about living alone and making these beautiful fake roses.  They don't smell pretty, but she likes them, and she adores April kisses and, conveniently, she also likes poetry. By the end of her aria, Mimi & Rodolfo end up being quite enamored of one another.

And that's your music lesson for the day. And it serves a dual purpose because you can totally picture Peef as Rodolfo -- thinking his chicken named Mimi is pretty innocent and cute, right?

The fact is, we love a good roasted chicken. This one happens to be full of flavor -- thanks to the simple magic of something called "porcini dust," which just happens to be dried porcini mushrooms ground into a fine powder with a coffee grinder.

The porcini powder is mixed with fresh garlic, white wine, salt, and a bit of olive oil, and then spread between the skin and the meat of the chicken. 

Earthy and garlicky, this chicken is completely & amazingly delicious.  And, although it makes wonderful use of the rich, deep flavor of porcini mushrooms, it does so judiciously, so it won't completely break the bank.
The recipe gets even better when you choose to cook the chicken in the same pan with halved new potatoes and quartered turnips.  The vegetables caramelize nicely and they absorb plenty of the earthy flavor from the porcini mushrooms, along with that deliciously savory chicken flavor.

Perfect for company.  Just pair with a green salad and a bit of crusty bread.

Porcini Roasted Chicken

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Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.


  1. Haha great post! Ridiculous things of this nature go on in my kitchen all the time. So I understand. Plus now I feel like I have one more little nugget stored away in my head that will hopefully come in handy some day at trivia night. Awesome.

    Porcini or puccini chicken...whatever you want to call it...delicious!

  2. I love it! I can totally hear Peef making these comments and in his voice as well (and then a little giggle.) HA!

    Very easy, rustic looking dish! I will have to see if A can make it for me one of these nights in the winter!

  3. Oh! We roast a chicken a couple times a month in the winter & are always looking for new ideas, this is amazing!

  4. I like the idea of Puccini chicken. What would a La Boheme chicken really taste like, other than calling it Mimi? After all, the characters in that opera were pretty poverty-stricken.

    Mimi was pretty miraculous though. Here she was dying of tuberculosis and coughing her head off and she was still belting out a tune with her dying breath. IMpressive.

    Then there is "Rent", the modern version, where stripper Mimi Marquez is dying of AIDS, but continues to sing to her dying breath - then as she goes toward the light, she sees their dear departed friend Angle who says, "Go back girlfriend!"

    Opera, Broadway. Whatever. I'm always up for new ideas for roast chickens.

  5. So full of flavors, that must smell and taste good.

  6. What a crazy and insane post - I LOVE IT!

  7. Great roast chicken idea - "Porcini dust" sounds like a great way to stretch those expensive little mushrooms... I wonder if you could give it an asian vibe by using dried shiitakes?

  8. It looks so delicious..that makes me hungry..

    Nice post!


  9. Mi piace molto La Boheme. Porcini dust!? Magnifico! Che bella cosa un pollo arrosto semplice. Ciao Peef e Lo :)

  10. Puccini chicken sounds delicious.


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