A pioneer of fine dining in the Hunter Valley, Esca Bimbadgen’s reputation for excellence is well deserved. Chef Mark Marshall’s dual purpose – to showcase the abundance of local produce at Bimbadgen’s doorstep, as well as its passion for the signature wines of the region – is nowhere better expressed than in this textural and multi-layered chicken dish, an archetypal match for the mouth-watering qualities of a Bimbadgen Chardonnay.
2 x 180g boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season
4 sprigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Oil for frying
1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3 egg yolks
1 cup 00 flour (or plain flour)
¾ cup freshly-grated truffle pecorino
2 lemons, zested
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
25g dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 300ml of boiling water
1 tablespoon oil
200g chestnut mushrooms (or button), roughly chopped
1 small brown onion
2 garlic cloves, bashed with skins left on
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
200ml dry white wine
75ml oat milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons red miso
1 tablespoon oil
400g of mixed seasonal mushrooms such as king oyster, enoki, shiitake, shimeji, etc
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
Truffle Pecorino, finely grated
Finely chopped chives
1. Gnocchi: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to form a soft dough. Roll into a sausage, 2cm thick. Cut into 3cm lengths. Transfer to a tray dusted with semolina. Store in fridge until required.
2. Mushroom purée: Place dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms, cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add onion, garlic and tomato paste, cook for 5 minutes or until soft and caramelised. Add wine, cook until almost all liquid has evaporated. Pour in dried mushrooms and soaking liquid, bring back to the boil. Transfer to a blender, blend until completely smooth. Add oat milk, miso paste and soy sauce. Blend again until incorporated. Season to taste. Keep warm.
3. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Heat oil in an oven-proof non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken, place skin side down and cook for 4-5 minutes or until skin is golden and crisp. Add butter, garlic and thyme. Transfer to oven and cook for 15 minutes. Set aside in foil to rest.
4. Pan-fried mushrooms: Heat oil and butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir- fry for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
5. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi floats to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon into serving bowls, add sautéed mushrooms.
6. To serve: Slice each chicken breast in four. Smear mushroom purée on plates. Add gnocchi and mushrooms, top with chicken, extra fried mushrooms. Garnish with chives and truffle pecorino.
Wine Match: Bimbadgen Chardonnay 2018