Not since purchasing Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours have I loved a cookbook as much as I am loving Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I find myself reading it, as I would a novel. It sits beside my bed when it isn’t being abused in the kitchen. I think about it throughout the day, wondering what I could be making if only I had the time.
On Tuesday, I had the time.
Having picked up a huge pack of chicken at the grocery, I found that all of the ingredients needed for Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence were already in my house. Seven and I took a field trip up to the garden and picked thyme and basil (the basil is the most aromatic and flavorful Lemon Basil and Purple Basil) and the rest we found in the fridge.
This recipe comes together easily, and Julia’s directions once again produced a no fail entree. For those of you not into French, the recipe is translated as Chicken Sauteed with Herbs and Garlic, Egg Yolk and Butter Sauce. It wasn’t our typical chicken recipe…but we all enjoyed it. Even little Seven, who rarely likes meat other than bologna and hot dogs, called out for it more than once. The sauce is savory and rich, and the chicken is just the right amount of crisp and juicy. I can see it being made here again…but oh! There are so many more recipes for me to try!
Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence
by Julia Child
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed, patted dry
1 teaspoon dried thyme or savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in spice mill or with mortar and pestle
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
2/3 cup dry white wine or 1/2 cup dry white vermouth
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry white wine or dry white vermouth
2 to 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, fresh fennel fronds, or fresh parsley (optional)
Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, add chicken pieces and cook only until golden, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken breast pieces to plate. Sprinkle remaining chicken pieces in pot with half each of thyme, basil, and fennel seeds, then salt and pepper. Add garlic to pot. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium and cook 8 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle chicken breasts with remaining thyme, basil, and fennel seeds, then salt and pepper. Return breast pieces to pot; baste chicken with butter in pot. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, turning and basting occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to hot platter; cover.
Remove peel from garlic cloves; mash garlic with spoon or fork in same pot. Add 2/3 cup wine to juices in pot; boil until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, occasionally scraping bottom of pan, about 8 minutes. Pour reduced pan juices into measuring cup and reserve for sauce.
Off heat, whisk egg yolks in heavy small saucepan until beginning to thicken. Whisk in lemon juice and 1 tablespoon wine. Gradually whisk reserved pan juices into eggs, 1 teaspoon at a time. Set sauce over very low heat and whisk constantly until warm and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time. Remove from heat. Stir in herbs, if desired. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
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