In another affront to French sensibilities, an amateur American home cook has taken, and if I may be not so humble perfected, a classic of French home cooking. Like the Russians who have repeatedly knocked twitter offline in an attempt to silence a Georgian critic, I would not be too surprised to see the radical Grand-meres sans Frontiers attempt to take down Eat.Drink.Think. in a misguided attempt at preserving French culture. So while you can I would suggest making this little piece of French farm life tonight or saving it to your recipe file before those tech-savvy cheveaux-bleu exact their revenge!
Now you might read the recipe and think "that sounds like the perfect dish for fall" and you'd be right. But on a cool, cloudy summer morning when I actually was wearing slippers around the house while deciding what to make for dinner, it sounded pretty damn good, too. I grabbed this recipe off of epicurious, where apparently a group of Gourmet Magazine editors had it at the Paris bistro Chez Maitre Paul. The name roughly translates to "farmwife's chicken" and as they said "poulet à la fermière contains a farmwife's bounty—chicken, cheese, vegetables, and herbs." That it does, and it also contains a healthy dose of comfort. With a couple of minor tweaks it really turned out well, and w and I were loving it washed down with a glass or two of grenache blanc from the French producer Abel Clement (which btw, if you find it probably is selling for around $8 a bottle!). Lighter on the palate than you would think (which made it delicious even on a warm summer night) and filling to the tummy this is exactly what you would want to come home to on a cool autumn evening. And whatever you do don't forget the baguette to soak up the rich, buttery-creamy sauce!
Poulet a la Fermiere
(Gratineed Chicken in Cream Sauce)
adapted from epicurious
yield: makes 4 servings
2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf (not California)
4 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
1 cup frozen small whole onions, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound small (1 1/2-inch) boiling potatoes, peeled and halved (I didn't worry about getting every bit of skin off the potatoes and they were fine-bb)
2/3 cup crème fraîche
1 cup frozen petite baby peas, thawed
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère
1-Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
3-Tie parsley and thyme together in a bundle, then add to pan with bay leaf carrots and onions, stirring to coat with fat. Add wine and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add broth and chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add potatoes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.