Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Poule au pot(s)

Our friend Sarah has been visiting from the US--she's on a 3 week tour of Europe with a Eurail pass and few set-in-stone plans, so we've been having a lot of fun just doing whatever we feel like together. The night she arrived, I promised to meet her at the train station and bring her home for a french dinner. I planned very carefully, all five courses, and shopped early to make sure I had everything.

However, there was one thing I didn't count on. A 1.4 kilo chicken was WAY too big for my biggest pot. Woops.

Dr. B headed over to our Sunday street market. They did have nice Tefal pots, but wanted 60 euros, and we just couldn't see doing that for one meal. So, a frantic call was made to Flare, and a pot was borrowed, with the promise that if the recipe was good, we'd share it.

The recipe was divided amongst the two pots, and tasted remarkably good and was surprisingly easy. I cut the chicken in pieces to make it fit, which worked just fine. When we arrived home, we started with an aperitif of Floc de Gascogne (from the Salon Saveurs), then the broth as a first course, followed by the veggies and chicken with the awesome sauce (don't skip it--I know it sounds weird but it tastes fabulous). Then a salad with vinaigrette, cheese course (I did 5--couldn't resist!) and Galette des Rois (Kings Cake for Epiphany) for dessert. We had wine to accompany, plus cider with the galette. Everything was wonderful, and I was pretty impressed that we managed it all in our teeny, tiny apartment and kitchen. By the end, with all that eating, I was surprised all 3 of us fit in our tiny apartment!

And as promised, I'll share the recipe. I guess it was Francois 1er's Henry IV's favorite dish (King of France.) [Thanks to Amerloque for the history fix. Flare, tell your husband he needs to review his history.] Yummy and easy.

Poule au Pot
Recipe prepared by Elizabeth Kerdelhué. Written by Gabriel Gaté

Serves 4

1 free-range chicken, about 1.8 kg
4 cloves
1 medium brown onion, peeled
a few sprigs of parsley, a bayleaf and a few sprigs of thyme tied together with kitchen string
about 8 peppercorns
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium carrots, peeled
4 medium turnips, peeled
2 leeks, washed and cut into 10 cm lengths (trim off green part)
2 sticks celery, cut into 10 cm lengths
2 tsp mustard
about 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
about 6 tbsp olive oil
6 gherkins, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Place cleaned chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Place on medium heat.

Pierce the cloves into the onion and add to pot with herbs and peppercorns and season with salt and pepper.

Once the vegetables are peeled and sliced, add them to the chicken pot. Bring to a simmer and cook chicken and vegetables for about 50 minutes. Remove surface foam from time to time with a large spoon or skimmer.

Place mustard and a little salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk in vinegar, then while continuing to whisk, add oil. Stir in sliced gherkins and chopped parsley.

Transfer chicken and vegetables to a platter and serve with the dressing.

The broth is served separately as a soup to which small pasta is sometimes added.


Sarah and I have been busy being tourists over the last few days (and she decided to stay a little longer, so more to come!). We went to Sacré Coeur and Montmartre, got propositioned near the Moulin Rouge, and did a little shopping on the Rue de Rivoli. We all went out for Fondue and cocktails, and today we went to the street market and the Musée d'Orsay (weirdly, our favorite things were all furniture!) Tonight Dr. B made Galettes for dinner (not the same thing as the pastry cake--these are buckwheat crepes from Bretagne [I think it's buckwheat--it's called farine de saracens] that he fills with egg, cheese, ham, mushrooms, shallots, and chopped parsley and tops with crème fraîche.) Tomorrow we are going with my girls to another museum, and the "Soldes" start--the twice yearly big sales in France.

I'll post some pictures later--and hopefully something else new will be coming your way.

Sorry this is not too terribly entertaining tonight--I'm tired, and my knees, ankles and hip joints hurt. Near as we can figure, it's the floor in the Musée d'Orsay--it's an old train station, and all stone, so pretty hard on the joints.

Time to hit the Advil stash.



At 6:19 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We so enjoyed the Musee d'Orsay when we visited Paris. One of our favorites! L, B

At 2:55 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger ViVi said...

My husband told me the story behind Poule au Pot. Apparently, it was Francois 1er who decreed that every French family would be alloted one chicken per week. The families then made Poule au Pot as a way to make the chicken last longer (chicken meat, soup, bones for stock, etc).

Steph's mom made this dish so much growing up that I am not allowed to make it (I think everyone has a dish like that!). I don't mind when we go to my in-law's for lunch to eat it, though!

PS I'm feeling much better today, but thanks for your offer of emergency meds! :)

At 2:56 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hi Mrs B !

Actually, the poule au pot has come down through history as being the 'favorite' dish of Henri IV, the Protestant king from the Béarn, and not Francis the First. (smile) He is alleged to have uttered: Je veux qu'il n'y ait si pauvre paysan en mon royaume qu'il n'ait tous les dimanches sa poule au pot !

Looks like you had fun with that recipe ! Mmmmmm !


At 8:33 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger MagE said...

Yippee... glad you and Sarah are having a good time being tourists... jealous of my sis... you cook her dinner (I should say fantastic meals) and sees Paris! Wonderful! And she emailed me to tell me she has no time to email... funny girl.
am looking forward to hearing more!

At 11:21 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Samantha said...

Hey, just found your site, through Vivi. Glad to see there's a fellow (or at least former) Minnesotan out there. Where were you born? I noticed you have a weather pixie for Grand Forks - I grew up in Crookston, before moving to Minneapolis to go to the U.

At 4:21 PM, January 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks much for keeping up with your blog. We have a good time reading of your adventures. Talked to your sis via email and found out they bought a house. How exciting for them. Think of you guys often. Keep enjoying France. Hugs. Love, your aunt J.

At 5:46 PM, January 12, 2006, Blogger PutYourFlareOn said...

Wow, that recipe sounds great! Can't wait to try it! And I will tell my husband to review his history! ::snicker::


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