winner winner, french chicken dinner
Fall is one of those times where poultry is abundance. The following recipe came to me from a book entitled La nouvelle cuisine de France, written sometime after World War II by two Benedictine nuns at the convent of Saint-Sauveur de Compiègne, near Paris. The compiler reports that this was served in the convent refectory to hungry American GIs. The nuns had had just a handful of extremely rare red bell peppers from Italy on hand in the kitchen, and two old capons. The nuns weren't used to cooking with bell pepper, and very rightly reached out to a certain French chef working at Maxim's in Paris, which had recently closed during the Occupation. Having escaped enemy lines near the Front, he was smuggled in the back of a food truck. The nuns, who had plenty of other things to work, offered the chef shelter in return for a meal for the American GIs. The book says that this was served on November 8, 1944. Paris was liberated on 25 August, 1944, and the book tells us that the chef returned to fame serving a newly free France. The Benedictine nuns named this dish not only after their convent (the term "Saint-Sauveur" refers to the Transfiguration of Jesus), but also after the chef, who had saved the nuns with his surplus of chicken, bell peppers, onions, carrots and spices, all of which he had smuggled from Paris.
This dish is best served with bone-in chicken (preferably thighs), but well-marinated and seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breast also works. The sauce is best made a day before and then poured onto the chicken after it's had the chance to rest for a few minutes.
Serve this dish with a loaf of crusty white bread, a veggie or pasta side, and a nice, even white wine, like a Chardonnay or even a crisp Rosé.
I personally like this for a quaint late summer or autumn dinner, however it becomes a little more expensive to find really decent bell peppers until the very late autumn. You may use hot peppers if you like a little (or a lot) of heat with this dish, as it seasons well. For this recipe, we'll be using a good strong Hungarian paprika, the kind you would normally find in Europe.
You'll be needing the following:
procedure for the sauce
- 1. In a heavy cast-iron skillet sauté the mirepoix in 2 tablespoons of oil, until the garlic is golden is fragrant, (but not scorched), the onion and celery are translucent, and the carrot is soft and pliable.
- Season the mirepoix with the tarragon and continue sautéing until the tarragon is very green and fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with 1 wineglass of white cooking wine until the alcohol evaporates and you've scraped up all the brown bits with the back of a wooden spatula. You may add the red peppers, the tomato paste, and the cream to the mirepoix with the stock, but if you're just using the the soup, proceed to the next step.
- Add the bay leaf. Heat the sauce to boiling, stirring thoroughly. Lower heat, and cover, until the vegetables have completely dissolved into the sauce. When the fat settles on the surface of the sauce, you may skim it with a paper towel.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard. Transfer the soup to the blender or cuisinart. Process until the soup is full-bodied and well-blended. Reserve.
procedure for the chicken:
- Generously season chicken with salt, white pepper, épices parisiennes and paprika. The chicken should be thoroughly covered, enough to cover on all sides. If you're working with bone-in chicken, ensure that the skin is evenly coated.
- Set aside for 30 minutes to allow spices to settle.
- In a heavy skillet with high sides (or better yet, a Creuset), add the fats over medium-high heat. You may brown the butter if you like, but do not scorch it. As soon as the oil shimmers in the pan, (or forms bubbles on the back of a wooden spoon), add the chicken and sauté over middle-heat, turning over frequently, until the juices run clear and the skin is sticky (in bone-in chicken), or until the chicken is not pink anymore, but not entirely cooked.
- Reserve the chicken and set aside. Tent some aluminum foil over the chicken to keep it from spoiling.
putting it together
- Heat another 2 tbps of butter into the clean skillet over medium-high heat. Lower the heat when the butter is foamy and fragrant.
- Add the chicken and reserved juices.
- Cover the chicken with the sauce.
- Simmer on medium-low heat for thirty-forty minutes, (bone-in chicken), fifteen to twenty minutes (boneless chicken). Let rest for ten minutes, then serve on hot buttered noodles or rice. Bone in chicken should have very pliable meat, while boneless chicken should not be firm or rubbery at all.
Any sauce whatsoever should be smooth, light (without being liquid), glossy to the eye, and decided in taste. When these conditions are fulfilled, it is always easy to digest, even for tired stomachs.
I was born into a really large family with both Portuguese and Mexican-American (Chicanx) roots. Additionally, I grew up on the border, so when it comes to cooking, I was extremely lucky to have access to some truly yummy food. In the summertime, my Mom would make limeade for us (especially if we were sick). She would make limeade either in the Mexican way (with the limes hanging in the water, similar to águas), or in the Portuguese way (with just regular lime juice). I've never been a fan of pulp in anything, so I've always opted just to use bottled lime or lemon juice. Just the other day I found some rose water and decided to make some Água de Lisboa, a famous drink from 19th century Lisbon much lauded for its restorative properties, especially in times of high heat and humidity.
Água de Lisboa
You'll need the following:
- In a tall pitcher, stir the juice, attar of roses, and powdered sugar into the water at once.
- Served in glasses with cracked ice.
he'll say "i do" to this american classic
OK, this is an old favorite and everyone has their particular take on this classic recipe of the singles set. I can attest that my boyfriend loves this chicken recipe (and in my house we eat a lot of chicken!)
This can be prepared the night before a date or a few hours before. Its provenance is rumored to be Italian (the simplicity and low cost of the ingredients). Like all great chicken dishes, it gets better the next day (if you decide NOT to refrigerate it, which can dull and lessen flavors). Serve this chicken dish with a very simple side, e.g., roasted new potatoes with dill and rosemary, or zucchini drizzled with olive oil, quatre épices and sea salt.
You will need:
- Preheat the oven to 425º F or 218º C (gas mark 7).
- Pat the outside of the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters. Place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper (Some recipes have you stuff a lemon in the cavity, but this is dubious.) Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.
- Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.
- Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.
want to submit a recipe?
Fancy sharing a dish with the rest of the tilde.town community (and maybe the world)? Send an email in Alpine to ~joe within tilde.town with the subject "COOKBOOK" and I'll add it to this page! (~joe)