I was inspired by the book The Parisians to pull out Julia Child’s classic Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One. This recipe, on page 262, is the one right before Coq Au Vin and is so much easier to make! I think it is delicious! As the translation explains, it is chicken simmered in cream and onions. It has a touch of either spirits or wine along with the perfect amount of curry. Julia recommends serving it with steamed rice or risotto, buttered green peas or baked cucumbers (sounds weird) and a fairly full-bodied white Burgundy or white Bordeaux-Graves.
Fondue de Poulet à la Crème
for 4-6 people
2 1/2 – 3 lbs. of cut-up frying chicken (I used boneless skinless breasts and cut down the cooking times)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/3 cup cognac, Calvados, Madeira, or port; or 3/4 c. dry white wine
3 cups whipping cream
Drops of lemon juice
3 – 4 Tablespoons whipping cream
Sprigs of fresh parsley
Put the butter into a heavy, 10’ fireproof casserole on medium.
Dry chicken thoroughly. Turn it in hot butter for 4-5 min., until meat has stiffened slightly, but not browned. Remove it to a side dish.
Stir the onions into the butter in the pan. Cover and cook very slowly (med-low), until onions are tender, not browned.
Return chicken to pan, cover, and cook slowly for 10 min. until meat swells lightly, and stiffens, but does not brown. Turn it once during this period.
Pour whipping cream into a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Season the chicken with seasonings, pour in the spirits or wine, raise the heat, and boil rapidly until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated.
Pour the hot cream over chicken, simmer, baste the chicken and cover.
Maintain at the barest simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
The cream may look slightly curdled but will be smoothed out later.
Remove chicken to a hot platter, cover, and keep warm for 5 minutes while finishing the sauce.
Skim fat off the sauce (with chicken breasts, there was no extra fat), then boil it rapidly, stirring, until it reduces enough to coat the spoon lightly. Add lemon juice to taste. Off heat, beat in additional cream by spoonfuls to smooth out the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken, decorate with parsley, and serve.
In 2010, Steve and I went to a cooking demonstration at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, so I could try to channel my inner Julia Child. It was a fabulous experience!