Posts Tagged 'julia child'

Poulet Sauté aux Herbes (Sautéed Chicken with Herbs)

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Julia Child said that in France the chicken tasted more chickeny. I like to think that she was talking about this dish.

The problem with a lot of chicken dishes is that they really don’t taste like much. How many times have I had a grilled chicken breast or chicken caesar salad that didn’t really taste like much of anything? And yet chicken is the most popular form of protein in the United States.

When I first made this recipe, it was refreshing to find a chicken recipe that actually tasted like, you know, chicken. It quickly became one of my wife’s favorite meals.

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And, it’s not only good, it’s also pretty easy. It takes about 45 minutes including preparation time. It’s even faster if you quarter the chicken the night before (or as soon as you get it home from the store). It’s easiest enough for a weeknight but tastes good enough for a special occasion. I’ve even made it when visiting family on the other side of the country.

The dish is decent with a mass produced whole chicken but even better with an all-natural or organic bird. This is the dish that made me switch my change my chicken buying habits.

When I quarter my chicken, I don’t use the wings (we never eat them). I also bone and skin the chicken breasts (Angela prefers them that way). If the breast halves are large, I cut them in half again. I usually save the chicken carcass for making stock later on.

The pan sauce made is really for topping the chicken. In our household, we usually dip bread into it. Usually I serve this with a potato gratin and green beans or peas. A light white wine also goes well. Last night, we had a Lucas & Lewellen Chardonnay (it wasn’t overly oaked or buttery so it worked well with this dish).

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Poulet Sauté aux Herbes (Sautéed Chicken with Herbs)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 3-4 lbs. chicken, quartered
salt
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried basil
pepper
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1 cup chicken stock

  1. Preferably the night before, salt the chicken on both sides and refrigerate until the next day (if not salting the night before, salt immediately before cooking).
  2. Dry the chicken with paper towels thoroughly. Heat 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the skillet on both sides, in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Sprinkle the herbs on each side of the chicken. Season the chicken with pepper.
  4. Add the dark meat (thigh and leg) pieces back into the skillet and cover. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes.
  5. Turn the dark meat chicken and add the remaining chicken to the skillet. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, turning once.
  6. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Boil the sauce until its slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining butter.
  8. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.

Serves 4 to 5.

Boeuf Bourguignon

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It’s finally getting cold in our area (cold is a relative concept here but bear with me). I had to light the pilot light in our heater last weekend (no surprise that it was Angela who was cold). With the weather turning, there was an opportunity to make all those dishes that it was too hot to make during the summer.

Specifically, I’m referring to braised dishes. There’s something magical about taking a cheap (relatively) piece of meat and turning it into a great meal. It seems closer to real cooking.

And when it comes to things like braises, I think the rustic style classics are the best. Things like Coq au Vin (which was my original choice for this meal but we decided on beef instead). Or, in this case, Boeuf Bourguignon. And, while it was codified by Escoffier, I still think it’s rustic at heart. And that appeals to me. Particularly on a cold day.

However, I’d not recommend doing what I did: starting cooking at 4:30 PM thinking that it would only take two hours to braise. The recipe specifies from 3 to 4 hours but, luckily, mine was fork tender after two and a half hours so we were able to eat right around 8:00 PM (the prep work and browning takes time). Good things are worth waiting for.

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Bouef Bourguignon
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

3 oz. bacon, cut into lardons
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 lbs. lean stewing beef (such as chuck pot roast or top round), cut into 2-inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 small sliced carrot
1 small sliced onion
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 to 3 cups beef stock
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
a bouquet garni consisting of 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 bay leaf, and 4 sprigs of thyme
9 to 12 brown braised white onions
1/2 lbs. sautéed mushrooms

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  2. Blanch the bacon in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and dry.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the vegetable oil is hot, cook the bacon in it until the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon from the dutch oven and reserve the bacon.
  4. Dry the beef in paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the beef in the dutch oven on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove the beef and place it with the bacon.
  5. Brown the sliced carrots and onions in the dutch oven. Pour out the fat.
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and stir. Put the dutch oven in the oven for 4 minutes. Stir the contents and return to the oven for 4 more minutes. Remove from the oven and change the temperature to 325ºF.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add enough beef stock until the beef is barely covered. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the bouquet garni and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Cover the dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  8. While the beef is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms. They will be reheated in the boeuf bourguignon before serving.
  9. When the meat has finished cooking, remove the dutch oven from the oven. Taste the sauce for seasoning. Simmer the sauce over medium-high heat if it’s not thick enough. If it’s too thick, add more beef stock. Add the mushrooms and onions and simmer for several minutes, until the contents are equally warm.
  10. Serve with boiled potatoes or egg noodles.

Serves 3 to 4.

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Brown-braised Onions

9 to 12 pearl onions
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup beef stock
salt and pepper
a bouquet garni consisting of 2 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs of thyme

  1. Peel the onions and cut off the root and stem ends. On the root end, cut an x into the base.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and brown for 10 minutes, shaking the pan or stirring regularly.
  3. Add the beef stock and bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes.


Sautéed Mushrooms

1/2 lbs. button mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Scrub the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Cut off the bottom of the stem and cut the mushrooms into halves if small or quarters if large.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.