If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Chicken Fricassee with Shiitake Mushrooms and a salute to Chef Jason Weiner of Almond Restaurants and Outstanding in the Field.

        

Jane, Jason and John

About a month ago, my friends, Jane Maguire and John Quigley of Long Island Mushroom Inc., invited me to attend a special event.  It was a dinner held at the EECO Farm in Easthampton.  It was hosted by a group called “Outstanding in the Field”, a quirky roving restaurant that travels all over North America staging dinners that bring together local farmers and foodies in outdoor pop-up settings.  Local food purveyors supply the raw ingredients.  Jane and John were, of course, responsible for the presence of their glorious mushrooms.  And Jason Weiner, who is the Chef and Co-Owner of Almond Restaurants—one in Bridgehampton and one in New York—did all the cooking. 


         

Photo by Kelli Delaney Kot

Outstanding in the Field arrives in a big, old red bus stocked with practically everything needed to create these farm feasts—with the exception of the food and the plates.  The diners bring the latter which makes for a wonderfully eclectic table setting.  Their crew sets up enormous long tables right next to the source: in this case at the East End Community Organic Farm.  The town of Easthampton owns the 42 acre site and then leases space to local organic farmers who share equipment and land. 

Photo by Kelli Delaney Kot

The Outstanding in the Field crew are as earnest and enthusiastic as our farmers and they put on a wonderful party.  There were fully 6 courses which Chef Weiner and his restaurant crew were somehow able to serve to 115 participants.  I had never heard of this particular event but I sat next to two Pennsylvania couples who had planned a week’s vacation just to be there. They were ‘camp followers’ who had been to other OITF dinners, one on a ranch, another on a mountaintop and one right on a beach.  To see where OITF will set up tables next, go to http://outstandinginthefield.com/events/north-american-tour/ 

        

The whole idea is to have people connect to the land and the people who grow the food.  There’s a farm tour, which was conducted by one of the EECO farmers.  The fisherman who provided the line-caught the tuna, black back flounder and red hake told us about his work and took questions.  After passed hors d’oevres, everyone sat down to dinner with generous pourings of wine from two local vineyards: Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton and the North Fork’s Paumanok Vineyard. 

        

Photo by Kelli Delaney Kot

Chef Weiner’s menu was heavy on our local catches paired with our beautiful produce.  But the grand finale was a terrific Chicken Fricassee which featured Jane and John’s fresh mushrooms, hydroponically grown and picked that morning at their mushroom farm.  As I sat there in the setting sun, I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening.  It was the sixth time OITF had worked with Jason and I could hardly wait for next year.  While this isn’t his recipe, it’s the one I made to salute him.  It’s no 30 minute meal.  But it’s a wonderful dinner party dish. The browned and braised chicken thighs sit atop the shiitake and onion mixture.  A flavorful broth accompanies them and the coup de grace is a lovely nutmeg scented light cream sauce. Just as Chef Weiner did, I paired it with some fresh local green beans.  And I used rice to sop up all the goodness of the sauce.  I served it at my final dinner party of the season, just before leaving for the city.  And I had enough left over to share with Andrew when I got home. Here’s the recipe. 



4 thoughts on “Chicken Fricassee with Shiitake Mushrooms and a salute to Chef Jason Weiner of Almond Restaurants and Outstanding in the Field.”

  • How cool that you got to attend this event! The chicken fricassee looks delicious. I remember making it years ago and disliking it but this recipe has encouraged me to try it again.
    Welcome home!

  • Hi Monte,

    I just had to stop and tell you how much I enjoyed this post. As a former Long Islander, who now lives in Pennsylvania, the proclaimed Mushroom Capital of the World, I'm delighted to learn about the efforts of "Outstanding in the Field." An online friend of mine, T.W. has a wonderful blog entitled Culinary Types. He also writes for Edible Long Island. I have a feeling you two should "meet." Here is the linkto his blog if you want to take a peek.

    As for that scrumptious looking Chicken Fricassée of yours, oh my heavens. Such a classic dish brought to delicious Shiitake elevation. Thank you so much for sharing. I'll be pinning this link for sure. Louise

  • Thanks so much Lauren. The dish is delicious. Jason is a genius and it's well worth giving Chicken Fricassee another shot. Great to be home! And so glad your trip was such a success. XOXO M

  • Dear Louise, How very thoughtful of you to write. We are all beholden to Kennett Square which is where Long Island Mushrooms get their start in life. I will be delighted to read your friend T. R.'s blog. And this recipe is really a revelation. Please come back to http://www.chewingthefat.us.com as often as you'd like. All best and again thanks for your kind words.

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