My first time overseas was in Haiti and I was “brand new”, 24 years old. Everything was so exciting and interesting; babies on the back, trays of fruit balanced on heads, a different culture and language. You could say I was giddy with delight! Really.
I remember harshly and arrogantly, as only the young can do, criticizing older State Department couples for being unenthusiastic; not bothering to learn the language, explore the culture, city and country, refusing to leave the Sans Souci Hotel grounds and seeing any outside intrusions as affronts to their sensibilities, gazing at everything with the old “fish eye”. I thought they should go home.
Well, as my grandmother used to say, “what goes around comes around” and here I am now thinking that I should go home. I lack enthusiasm for Germany and I don’t want to know. My grandmother also used to say, “you don’t miss your water til the well runs dry”, which I love, but it has nothing to do with this post; I just wanted to put it out there.
Why am I whining? It’s because I’m here in Sens and all my big tajines are in Stuttgart. I wanted to use one to make the poulet de Bresse. Even my pretty Le Creuset covered casserole is there, as if I needed it in Stuttgart for my joyless kitchen forays! Boo, hoo, hoo, hoo :D
So that’s why. Anyway, I wanted to make a good chicken dish today to eat with M. Parret and was inspired by the Garlic Braised Chicken at Whole Living http://www.wholeliving.com/132685/garlic-braised-chicken-olives-and-mushrooms. Not willing to be satisfied with just any old chicken, I decided to ease on by the Maison Trotoux where they specialize in poultry products from Bresse.
Maison Trotoux is a traiteur-butcher and they have so many good things here! I’m so glad that as more and more artisanal food shops disappear in Sens, Trotoux has a solid base of clients and is more than accommodating and welcoming to new and sometimes overly finicky clients who object to feathery heads and blue chicken feet in their packages.
I totally love the way the chicken is processed on site, the breast separated into supremes (1/2 breast with drumlette attached), two whole chicken legs, a package of the carcass for making stock, a package of the heart, liver and gizzard, a package of removed chicken fat, all ready to melt and use to brown the chicken. I love these people!
I was pretty excited about trying this recipe. It might have been the inclusion of two entire heads of garlic that thrilled my soul :)
And for those who left the identifying head and feet behind, there is a little metal tag attached to the chicken that reminds you of what you bought. So considerate!
Ideally, this should have been a one tajine dish; browning the chicken, then the garlic, mushrooms and olives all in one pan, then adding the wine and chicken broth. But even with the adjustments, this was still very, very easy to make and delicious.
For our entree today, M. Parret made a fresh tomato salad from his garden with viniagrette.
The bread was home made poppy seed from the kitchen of a friend.
With the chicken main course, I made smashed red potatoes with butter and parsley. And of course we had cheese. Comte, Tomme de Savoie, Epoisse, Camembert and Roquefort.
Garlic Braised Chicken
1 large or 2 small chickens, cut into pieces, heart, liver, gizzard and fat reserved
Salt and pepper
2 heads of garlic smashed
1 lb mushrooms, halved
1 cup of yellow wine
1 cup of green olives, pitted
2/3 cup chicken broth
Melt the chicken fat, put 2 tbsp into a skillet and brown the chicken, skin side down for about 6-7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add 1 more tablespoon of chicken fat to the skillet and cook the garlic, mushrooms and reserved chicken innards until the garlic is soft. Add the wine and boil for about 1 minute.
Add the olives and chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes, then mix with the chicken. Pour all into roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil, then roast in a 400 F oven for about 20 minutes, uncover, and continue to roast for 10-15 minutes.