Tonight Amy came over, and we decided that we would watch a movie and have dinner. I have had a whole chicken in my freezer for a while, and have been looking for something to make with it. A while back I had made Poulet Basquaise from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook. This is a great dish, and although it takes some time to prepare, it is quite tasty, and actually fairly simple as far as ingredients and what you need to do to them. I served it with a saffron rice pilaf.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 whole chicken
- salt and pepper
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP butter
- 4 bell peppers I had one each red, yellow, orange and green, use whatever you like
- one onion
- 16 oz canned Italian plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- flat parsley
Next comes the fun part! Breaking down the chicken. (A note: If you don’t eat meat, don’t like to see this sort of thing, prefer not to know, skip this part. It might be a bit graphic.) I realized, a bit late that I had made my life more difficult by removing the legs before the breasts, so I will try to keep that in mind for next time. First thing, remove the wings. Start, breast down, and grab the wing that is on your left. Lift the bird by its wing, and cut around the wing. The goal is to separate the joint, and not have to cut through a bone. When you have done that, repeat on the other wing. Next, you want to remove the breasts. Turn the bird breast side up. The first thing you have to do is remove the wishbone. I don’t know the best way to do this, sorry. I feel around, and the scrape with my knife to get to it, and then stick a finger under it and pull it out. Like I said, probably not the best way, but it works, and nobody complains. Now you can remove the breasts. You want to run down the keel bone with your knife, and then turn out toward the side. This is a bit trickier than it sounds, so you might not end up with the prettiest chicken breasts you have ever eaten, but keep trying, and you’ll get better.
Next you will want to remove the legs. This seems daunting at first, it is the biggest joint, but that actually makes it easier. With the her still on her back, cut through the skin on between the breast area, and the leg. Turn the bird breast side down, and lift the right leg. With your right hand holding the leg feel for the hip joint, and place your thumb on it. Hold the bird down with your left hand, and lift. You’ll feel the joint give. Now you just have to cut through the meat.
So now we’re done with the gruesome part! Season all the parts of the chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne. Next heat the oil in a large pot. Once it is hot add the butter. When the butter stops foaming put the chicken in the pot, skin side down, and brown it. You’re not actually trying to cook it through yet. If you have to work in batches go ahead. Once you have the chicken pieces browned on the skin side, remove them to a plate. Add the peppers and onions to the pot, and sweat them. You don’t want to get any color on them, just soften them. Cook them for about 10 minutes, and add the tomatoes. Reduce the liquid by half, and add the wine, and then reduce again. Add the water and stock, and then put the chicken back in the pot. Make sure you get any of the juices that have accumulated on the plate as well. Cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes. This is one dish where you will not miss gluten. I actually just add the whole can of tomatoes which means I end with about 12 extra ounces of tomatoes than the recipe calls for, but I just don’t have a lot of call for them.Hope you like this one! I know I do, and I am fairly certain you will too.