by Gaetano Trovato, Arnolfo
Set within the medieval walls of Colle di Val d’Elsa is one of Italy’s most exclusive restaurants, Arnolfo. Masterfully led by Michelin-starred chef Gaetano Trovato, a true ambassador for local producers, Arnolfo offers an exquisite dining experience where the ingredients take centre stage.
This complex recipe is well worth the effort, perfect for diehard foodies – serves 4
For the chicken
1 free-range Valdarno chicken 1.5 kg
3 sprigs of rosemary
4 sage leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 lemon, zest only
fleur de sel to season
For the sauce
4 sticks of celery
2 red onions
2 shallots, chopped
2 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 juniper berries
200 g of dry white wine
For the smoked potato cream
20 potatoes, a small buttery variety
100 g of wood chips, beech tree shavings where possible
2 shallots, sliced
1 sprig of rosemary
1 litre chicken stock
100 g of cream
1 sprig of rosemary
20 beetroot leaves
16 slices of black truffle
4 tsp truffle, perlage (caviar)
Preheat a water bath to 63°C.
Start by removing the legs, wings and neck from the chicken (these will be used later). Remove the thighs, making sure you keep the skin on the breast. De-bone the thighs, keeping the skin on, and open them up. Add a sprig of rosemary, a sage leaf, a clove of garlic and a quarter of the lemon zest to each flattened thigh.
Place the thighs in two separate vacuum bags with the seasonings, making sure they are laid flat, and seal. Cook in the water bath for 12 hours.
Slice open the breasts with the skin still on. Remove the innards from bird and dice with the remaining sage, rosemary, garlic and zest, and stuff into the opened breasts. Close the breasts, season and place in a vacuum bag with a little olive oil. Then seal, and cook in the same water bath as the thighs for 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 195°C/gas mark 5.
To make the sauce, roast the chicken bones, wings and neck in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop then blitz the celery, carrot and onion in a food processor to a coarse paste.
Sauté the paste with a little olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the bones and cover with ice. Boil the broth for 2 hours, adding cold water in the first hour. You should end up with an amber-coloured liquid.
Sauté the shallots for the sauce in a pan with the spices. Add the white wine, reduce to a glaze, then add the strained broth. Reduce again until it has the consistency of a thick sauce, then pass it through a sieve. Keep warm.
For the smoked potato cream, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft. Reserve four potatoes for the final garnishing. Line a baking tray with tinfoil and place in the oven (do not turn the oven on). Heat the beech shavings in a heavy pan until smoking, then spread out on the foil. Place the potatoes on a smaller tray on top of the shavings in the oven and leave to smoke for 30 minutes.
Sauté the shallots with a little olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Peel and cut the smoked potatoes into pieces, then add to the pan with the rosemary. Cover with the chicken broth, simmer for 20 minutes and then add the cream. Blitz to a smooth purée in a blender to finish.
When ready to serve, remove the thighs from the bags, pat dry and cook them in a non-stick pan, skin-side down, until crispy and golden.
Remove the chicken breast from the bag and pat dry. Remove the breasts from the bone and cook in a non-stick pan, skin-side down, until the skin is crisp and golden. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.
To assemble, cut the chicken into pieces. Cut the remaining four potatoes in half and brown them in a pan with a little oil and a sprig of rosemary. Season the beetroot leaves with a little olive oil and salt.
Pour some potato cream into each serving dish and spread out. Place two halves of the potatoes next to each other, then the pieces of chicken on top. Add the warm chicken sauce and garnish with the leaves, truffle shavings and a teaspoon of truffle perlage.