Dark Days Challenge: Week???

By my calculation, this is the last post, but I lost track a few weeks ago amid 12 hour work days and even a couple Saturdays logged at the office. But, alas, it’s over!

I made the most amazing meal I’ve had in a while on Sunday (that’s no sayin’ much since with all those late hours I ate a lot of take out). And, I realized without really planning it, the meal was about 99% local.

Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence — Serves 4 to 6
(Y’all know how much I love my Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a go-to for simple comfort food)

1 heavy 10-inch casserole or fire proof skillet
1/4 lb. (1 stick) of butter
2 1/2 to 3 lbs of cut-up frying chicken, rinsed and dried with paper towels
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp ground fennel
salt and pepper to taste
3 unpeeled cloves of garlic
2/3 c dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
2 egg yolks
1 Tb lemon juice
1 Tb dry white wine
A small enameled saucepan
A wire whip
Optional: 2 or 3 Tb softened butter
2 Tb minced basil, fresh fennel tops or parsley

Heat the stick of butter until it is foaming, then turn the chicken pieces in it for 7 to 8 minutes, not letting them color more than deep yellow. Remove the white meat. Season the dark meat with herbs, salt and pepper, and add the garlic to the casserole. Cover and cook slowly for 8 to 9 minutes. Season the white meat and add it to the casserole, basting the chicken with the butter. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning and basting 2 or 3 times until the chicken is tender and its juices run pale yellow when the chicken is pricked.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a hot platter, cover and keep warm.

Mash the garlic cloves in the casserole with a spoon, and remove the skin. Add the 2/3 cup of wine and boil it down over high heat, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the casserole, until the wine has been reduced by half.

Beat the egg yolks in the saucepan until they are thick and sticky. Beat in the lemon juice and 1 Tb wine. Then beat in the casserole liquid, a half-teaspoon at a time to make a thick creamy sauce like hollandaise.

Beat the sauce over very low heat for 4 to 5 seconds to warm and thicken it. Remove from heat and add optional butter and remaining herbs. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

I served the chicken with Pommes De Terre Sautes.

2 lbs “boiling” potatoes or new potatoes
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil (I used canola)
1 10-inch heavy skillet big enough to hold the potatoes in one layer, with a tight fitting lid
1/4 tsp salt

If you use regular potatoes, cut them so they are about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches at the widest part. Do not wash them after they are peeled and cut, but pat them dry with a paper towel. Add the butter and oil to the skillet, and turn it on high heat. Once the skillet is hot, roll it to coat the entire bottom with the butter and oil. Do not let the butter begin to brown. Put potatoes in the skillet and leave them for 2 minutes to sear the outside. Shake after a couple minutes to sear all sides of the potato. Continue until potatoes are pale and golden on all sides. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and shake skillet again. Reduce heat and cover skillet. Cook the potatoes about 15 mintues, shaking the skillet occassionally to ensure an even coloring. They are done when they appear soft when pricked with a fork.

So, both of these recipes seem pretty involved, but they are surprisingly easy. Especially the potatoes. And the sauce on the chicken was MONEY.

Sources: chicken from Almost Heaven Farms in Monroe County; butter from Homestead Creamery, in Wirtz, VA; spices from far away; garlic from Spangler’s Greenhouse in Monroe County; white wine probably from California (way far away); egg yolks from Cozy Hollow Farm in Monroe County; fresh fennel tops from the grocery store, but they were organic; potatoes from Byrnside Branch Farm in Monroe County; canola oil from far away.


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