Last night, we had good company in the form of my sister-in-law and her husband. Stepping off our diet for one evening (you knew that we are both dieting, didn’t you? Perhaps I haven’t mentioned that. In five-and-a-half weeks, I’ve lost 12lb and H has lost 10lb, about which we are very pleased.), I prepared poulet basquaise with a rice pilaf whilst H made a chocolate meringue and summer fruit dessert. If ever H gets a blog (incredibly unlikely), she can describe the making of the dessert for you, but I thought I’d share the poulet with you here.
The recipe was from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks for meat recipes – lots of rustic French and Mediterranean style cooking with rich reduced sauces. I found I needed slightly more fluid than the recipe suggested, so here is my interpretation:
Ingredients (serves 4 generously):
- chicken (The recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into eight pieces. I found it simpler to use two breasts, halved; four drumsticks, skin-on; four thighs, skin-on – you need meat on the bone as the dark meat works best, and you want about 1.5kg in total);
- two red peppers, cut into long thin strips;
- two green peppers, similarly cut;
- one onion, thinly sliced;
- 450g tin of Italian tomatoes;
- salt and pepper;
- a pinch of cayenne;
- a little olive oil (about two tablespoons);
- a knob of butter (about 15g);
- 150ml white wine;
- 200ml chicken stock;
- fresh parsley, chopped (note: this is real parsley usage – for flavour, not for useless garnish).
- Heat the oil on a medium-high heat in a large heavy pan with a lid. When it is hot, add the butter. Wait for the butter to melt and foam.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly season the chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Add the chicken, skin side down and brown it on this side only. Remove it to a plate and set aside.
- Add the peppers and onion and cook on a medium heat for about ten minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until the juices are reduced by about a third.
- Add the wine and cook for a further few minutes to reduce the wine by about half, being sure to scrape the bottom of your pan to get up that slightly burnt stuff from the peppers and onion.
- Add the stock and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the chicken, including any juices left on the plate. Cover the pan and leave on a low heat for at least 30 minutes, if not longer (mine was simmering for nearly an hour).
- Whilst this is going on, drink the rest of the bottle of wine and prepare the rice pilaf (I made mine with chicken stock, finely chopped shallots and peas – the peas give a good contrast to the poulet). Warm the oven to 75 Celsius.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm in the oven. (You might want to warm some plates too – I always forget that).
- Add salt and pepper to the sauce, as well as the chopped parsley. Crank up the heat to the max, remove the lid and reduce the sauce by half – this takes around ten minutes.
- Serve the chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, pouring over a generous amount of the pepper and onion sauce. Sit back, take the credit. Open another bottle of wine.
I would have taken photos, but we were too concerned with eating it! If you want photos of food, check out Fraser’s site.