Friday, May 23, 2014

Poule Au Pot Chicken

How to make a French person angry:

  1. Criticize French food (What!?)
  2. Profess your love for French food (You don't know what you are talking about!)
  3. Make French food (How dare you!?)
  4. Make a traditional French recipe with cheap, substituted ingredients. (...[speechless rage]...)
Joking aside, the French may have a snobby reputation when it comes to food, but they certainly do make some good stuff. The French have many old traditions about their food and drink, and different parts of the country are home to a wide variety of unique dishes.

I was trying my hand at a traditional French peasant dish, Poule Au Pot, or Chicken Au Pot, or Chicken in a Pot. It's simple food, whole chicken cooked in stock and served with vegetables. Like chicken soup without the soup part...

First, we make stock. Legit chefs would use parts from another whole chicken and whole vegetables. I used the bones and carcass from a cut-up chicken with (washed) carrot peelings, celery tops, cloves of garlic, and onions. The whole bunch was boiled and simmered until shiny and delicious.

Starting Stock for Poule Au Pot
Starting Stock

Stock Cooking for Poule Au Pot
Stock Cooking

I found a sauce recipe that goes with the dish, so I whipped it up with a lot of substituted ingredients. Don't tell the French! I used apple cider vinegar (made from my own hard apple cider), English mustard (not Dijon, as called for...), and a chopped hard boiled egg. The recipe also called for chopped pickles and capers, but if ya don't have 'em, ya can't use 'em.

Sauce Ingredients for Poule Au Pot
Sauce Ingredients

Whisking Sauce for Poule Au Pot
Whisking Sauce

Once the stock is ready, the vegetable peels and chicken carcass can come out, and the whole chicken pieces can go in with fresh vegetables. I had cabbage, potatoes, celery, carrots, and more onions.

Finishing the Poule Au Pot
Finishing the Pot

 To serve, fish out a big chunk of chicken, a healthy scoop of vegetables, and spoon on some stock. Spread on some of the mustard/egg sauce and you have an, ahem, French dish. With all apologies to real French people making real Poule Au Pot.

Poule Au Pot Au Plate
Poule Au Pot Au Plate

I think it turned out rather well. The chicken was great with the vegetables, and we were able to use the rest of the stock the next day for another batch of soup. Thanks, France!

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