Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme.

Bonne Femme
It was my birthday this week and I got some excellent presents. A Chasseur cast-iron pot, the Julia Child cookbooks and a set of knives were the main ones. I feel so spoilt! I've been trying to cook things in my new pot and chop lots of things with my new knives and I'm in heaven. But the knives are so sharp that I keep cutting myself. It's the kind of sharp that means you don't realise you've cut yourself until you see the blood dripping down your fingers onto whatever you're chopping. I must've cut my finger pretty deep the other day, because it won't stop bleeding. When it does, if I even touch my finger on anything, it bleeds again.

It did stop bleeding long enough, though, for me to cook dinner. Out of the hundreds of recipes in the Julia Child book, I chose this one because it had Bonne Femme in the title. Really, though, it's just chicken in a casserole with bacon, potatoes and onions - my favourite kind of dish. I know that not everyone likes their dinner to be covered in butter, but I do. Everything tastes better with butter. If you don't like your chicken and potatoes swimming in butter, you should just turn away now, this is definitely not a calorie-friendly meal. Then again, you have to splurge sometimes, so you may as well go all out.

To be honest, I did expect this dish to be a bit more... wow. It was basically just a roast chicken with butter and bacon to make it special. Don't get me wrong, it was super tasty, and cooking chicken in a cast-iron pot is my new favourite past time, but I think it could benefit from something else. I'm not sure what... Actually, I didn't have the right amount of bacon, so that might've made a difference. Doesn't matter though, I'll definitely make this dish again.

Julia Child says to use a 1/2 pound chunk of bacon, which you then have to cut up into lardons. This seemed like to much hassle for me, so I just used 4 strips of bacon, which probably wasn't enough, but, whatever, I do what I want. She also says to use 15-25 white onions. I imagine she's talking about those little onions that you use for pickling, but really, that's a bit outrageous. I used 2 big brown onions instead.

Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme:
Adapted from Julia Child's "Mastering The Art of French Cooking"

Oven- 180C

5 rashers of bacon, sliced
4 tbsp butter
1 chicken
2 big brown onions, cut in half with the skins off
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered
1/4 tsp salt
herb bouquet

Cover the potatoes in cold, salted water and bring to the boil. A couple of minutes before the water starts to boil, drop the onions in. As soon as it's boiled, drain everything.
Saute the bacon in 1 tbsp of butter in the cast-iron pot for 4-5 mins on the stove top. Take out and put aside.
Brown the chicken in the pot, until browned on all sides, be careful not to break the skin of the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and keep aside. Pour out the butter from the casserole.
Put the last 3 tbsp butter in the pot and heat until foaming.
Add the potatoes to the pot, rolling them around to "evaporate their moisture."
While the pot is still on the stove, spread the potatoes around the edge of the dish and put the chicken back in, breast side up.
Salt the chicken.
Put the onions around the chicken and scatter the bacon on top.
Add the herb bouquet.
Baste everything with the butter at the bottom of the pan.
Cover the chicken with alfoil, and put the lid on.
Roast for 1 hour 10-20 mins until the chicken is done.
Serve the chicken with the butter sauce from the pot.

1 comment:

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