15 February 2012

Fricassée de Poulet À L'Ancienne

Old-fashioned Chicken Fricassee with Wine-flavoured Cream Sauce, Onions and Mushrooms

Another Julia Child's French classic cuisine: Chicken Fricassee. So what is Fricassee, you might ask. According to an online definition: "Fricassée is a traditional French stew made usually made with chicken" (source). It is similar to braising, but when you say fricassée, you do not brown the meat. Basically, it is a white stew.

There something to french cooking chicken dishes (that I made so far) that taste similar. I think that's because of the stock and white wine reduction. But for this dish, the heavy cream and egg gave a more creamy and smooth texture.

For me, the taste of this dish is good. Nothing very special, though I'm not saying this doesn't taste good. It is very tasty, but I think I'll just do this if I have left over heavy cream in the fridge.

But, if you're interested in making a fricassée, whether chicken, duck, rabbit, or any kind of meat, here are what you need:

for 4-6 pax

1-1.5 kg whole chicken, cut into parts
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
4 tbsp butter
salt and white pepper to taste (but don't make it too salty)
3 tbsp flour
3 cups boiling chicken stock/broth
1 cup dry white wine
herb bouquet garni (2 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1/8 tsp thyme)
16-20 white braised onions*
250g fresh mushroom stewed in butter, lemon and water**
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
lemon juice
pinch of nutmeg

*white braised onions*
16 - 20 pearl onions/shallots
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 bouquet garni
   Place everything in a sauce pan and simmer very slowly, rolling the onions from time to time for 40-50 minutes. If the liquid evaporates during cooking, add more by spoonfuls

**mushroom stew**
250g fresh mushroom
1/3 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1. Bring the everything to boil except for the mushroom.
2. Add the mushroom and toss.
3. Cover and boil moderately fast, tossing frequently for 5 minutes.

1. Cook the vegetables slowly in butter for 5 minutes or until tender, but not browned. Push to one side, then raise heat to medium high.

2. Add the chicken, and turn it every 3-4 minutes, without coloring to more than golden yellow.

3. Lower heat to medium and cover for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

4. Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste (but not too salty). Add the flour to the chicken until it coats all side. Roll it in the cooking butter. Cover and continue to cook slowly for 4 minutes, turning once.

5. Add boiling chicken stock, white wine and bouquet garni. Bring to simmer. Taste for seasoning. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. It is done when juice from drumstick when pricked with fork run clear.

6. Remove chicken to a side dish. Add the juice from the onion and mushroom to the cooking liquid. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes, removing the fat. Boil rapidly stirring frequently to thicken the sauce, enough to coat a spoon nicely. Correct seasoning.

7. In a mixing bowl, whisk in egg yolks and heavy cream. Add the hot liquid by small tablespoonfuls while whisking. Pour the sauce in a thin stream while whisking. After whisking, return the liquid to the casserole. Bring to a boil for 1 minute.

8. Correct seasoning, add drops of lemon juice and pinch of nutmeg.

9. Arrange the chicken, onion and mushroom in the casserole. Pour the sauce over it. Serve.

There you go! Bon appétit! :D

12 February 2012

Mignon de Porc à L'Ail

Pork medallion with garlic, topped with wine-reduced caramelized shallots.

Last Saturday, I prepared a small dinner for my friend who is going to Germany next Tuesday. I invited him over to lend him some of my winter clothes. One of my friend, Jonathan, wanted to be my sous chef in cooking French cuisine, specifically a pork dish. I decided to try this recipe I stumbled upon a few weeks ago on the net. Apparently, it is one of the most popular dish in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook.

Basically, this dish is baked pork tenderloin, wrapped in bacon. topped off with caramelized shallots, reduced in wine and dark chicken stock. Yuuum! I'm not much of a pork person, but I tell you, I really like this dish. Even my greatest food critique liked it! Although I think I made it a little dry (not very) and that's because I was unsure if the meat is cooked or not. I kept on removing and placing back the meat in the oven to check. I think the topping really made a difference. The sweetness of the caramelized shallots, infused it with reduction of the wine, and my semi-homemade dark chicken stock gave this dish a wonderful, wonderful flavour. Fantastico!

In order for you to make this, you need: (2-4 pax, depending on cut and appetite)

500 g pork tenderloin
4-5 bacon (enough to wrap the meat)
1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled cloves
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
olive oil
4 shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dark chicken stock* see below

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Season the unpeeled garlic cloves with salt, pepper and thyme. Wrap the in an aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, mash half of the garlic with fork and rub it on the pork tenderloin. Reserve the other half for later. Leave the oven on.

4. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Wrap with bacon strips and tie it with kitchen string.

5. On a hot pan (high heat), add oil and 1.5 tbsp butter. When the butter stops foaming, brown the meat on every side. When the meat is browned all over, place in a roasting dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the inside temperature reaches 160F. Discard the fat from the pan.

6. Remove the meat when done, and wrap in an aluminum foil to allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes.

7. Slice the shallots into a "boat", quartered and separate thin layers. Add the rest of the butter in a hot pan and caramelize the shallot, about 5-7 minutes. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce until the mixture is dry (with glaze consistency). Lower the heat and add stock. Simmer until it reduces to half. Whisk in the remaining garlic and add a few more splashes of wine. Season to taste.

8. Cut the tenderloin into 0.5" - 1" slices, and pour over the topping.

9. Serve.

*To make dark chicken stock: (1cup)

bones of chicken, gizzard, chicken scraps
mirepoix (1 celery, 1 carrot, 1 onion)
2 cups water (or if you like, chicken broth)
aromatics (1 bay leaf, 1/8 tsp thyme, 2 parsley sprigs)

1. Brown the chicken and the vegetables in hot pan.

2. Discard the fat, and pour in water, mirepoix and aromatics, and simmer for 1-2 hrs or more. Strain, degrease, and the stock is ready for use)

Please do try this. Very yummy! Even my critiques like it! :D

Enjoy! Bon Appétit!

2 February 2012

Poulet Poêlé à L'estragon

Casserole-Roasted Tarragon Chicken

I bought a new French cookbook the other day entitled French: Easy Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients (Food for Friends). While browsing with Grace, we saw this recipe, and it looks very simple and very easy. I remembered Julia Child also has this recipe, so I checked it out. It looked more complicated and requires more ingredients than the former book. And from the ingredient lists, I think that both recipes taste very differently. The first one is creamy, while Julia's is savory. Given that I don't have one of the main ingredient for the first book (heavy cream), I went with Julia Child's version.

So yes, this is Julia Child's version. I'm sorry for the poor aesthetics of the photo. I also forgot to place the vegetables around the chicken. Anyway, the chicken came out very tender and very flavourful. Once you open the casserole from the oven (actually, even before you open), you can smell the buttery aromatics, and especially tarragon. The flavour and the aroma of tarragon really locked in the moist and tender meat. To be honest, this reminds me of Hainanese Chicken, although it differs in taste because of the herb and butter.  The sauce beside the chicken is the (brown) tarragon sauce. It gave the chicken another doze of malinamnam tarragon kick. It's supposed to be brown. The recipe requires a brown chicken stock, but I only have chicken stock from broth.

I think this dish is great for those who are living healthy(-ish). However for me, I still like my Poulet Bonne Femme (coming soon) better.

What you need: (4-6 pax)

1.2kg whole roasting chicken
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
4-8 tbsp butter*
3-4 sprigs of fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried
cooking oil
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced carrots
aluminum foil

for the Brown Tarragon Sauce

2 cups brown chicken stock
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with
2 tbsp Madeira (I used dry white wine. BUT THIS IS NOT A CORRECT SUBSTITUTE)
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
1 tbsp softened butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F

2. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper and 1tbsp butter. Insert the tarragon leaves. Truss the chicken, closing the cavity. (I don't know how to truss(tie) a chicken, I improvised)

3. Set casserole over moderately high heat with butter and oil. Once the butter foam subsides, place the chicken breast side down. Brown the chicken on all side for 2-3minutes per side. Be careful not to break the skin. Add oil and butter if necessary.

4. After all sides have browned, remove the chicken. Pour out the fat if it has burned. *Add 3 tbsp butter

5. Cook the carrots and onions slowly for 5 minutes without them browning. Add the 1/4 tsp salt and tarragon.

6. Salt the chicken on all sides well. Place it on the bed of vegetables in the casserole, breast side up. Baste it with butter in the casserole. Lay a piece of aluminum over the chicken and cover the casserole. Reheat the casserole on the stove until you hear little crackling or sizzling sound (around 2-3 minutes).

7. Place the casserole in the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Baste once or twice with the butter and juice.

8. The chicken is done when juice from its vent is clear yellow. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

For the sauce,

1. Add the stock to the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping the coagulated juice. Skim of all but a tablespoon of fat.

2. Blend in the cornstarch mixture and simmer, then bring to boil until lightly thickened.

3. Stir in the herbs and enrich with 1 tbsp butter. Pour into a sauceboat. Serve.

There you go! You now have a Poulet Poêlé à L'estragon à la Julia Child. :) I recommend using fresh tarragon than dried for this dish.