Sunday, July 8, 2012

Swinging French Jazz Bistro

These are a few of my favorite things...

Gypsy Slow Down

Muffins, with cinnamon, dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon and stevia, the way my mom used to make them on Sunday mornings before church.

Gypsy Slow Down

Herbs from the garden and the bounty of tomatoes on the edge of turning red. I can't wait. I am dying to eat one right off the vine. Did you know you can eat the purple flowers from the chive? My mother-in-law told me that you can and it's delicious in a salad. Tastes like mild onions, with a spicy kick.

Gypsy Slow Down

Witt's fascination with the deer that are right outside our window these days, eating the apples that fall from the apple tree. I thought this princely guy was nice looking. The apples are overflowing from the tree, almost ripe and almost ready to put into some pies and maybe apple butter? I really want to make that this fall.

Gypsy Slow Down

The most random plant in our garden. In the midst of my gladiolas is a corn stalk. When we found it growing we thought it was funny because we didn't plant it but didn't expect it to do anything. After all, how did it even get there? Well lo and behold, there are two ears of corn growing. I like to think it has personality, it's self made!

Swinging French Jazz Bistro

This chivey, creamy chicken dish from one of my favorite cookbooks.

I have to confess, I love cookbooks. But my next confession is that as exciting as they are the first time I crack the cover, most of them end up collecting dust in the bookcase. I am just not a cookbook girl. I love ideas and inspiration and I need them but mostly I love getting in the kitchen and just winging it.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not so much!

But there is one cookbook I have gone back to many times and it is Bistro: Swinging French Jazz by Sharon O'Conner. It was a gift from my sister and my future brother-in-law Andrew. I had just met Andrew and I guess even if you don't know much about me yet, you know soon that I love Paris. The cookbook also came with a CD of French Jazz which I sadly lost in my old apartment. Instead I can play the Pandora station "French Cafe" and it's pretty much the same.

On my last night of vacation last week I pulled it out again. The book chooses several bistros in Paris and recipes from their actual menus. I have not been to all of the bistros because I didn't have a very swanky paycheck when I lived in Paris, but I recognized many store fronts and it made me all mushy again for that city which I love

I thought this chicken dish was delicious, actually pretty easy and it would make an impressive dinner party dish since the green sauce is lovely. I did not get a good picture so I'm including the one from the book (is that cheating?). The cream sauce is so rich and chivey. I wish I had had creme fraiche on hand because it's milder than sour cream and has a smoother flavor. So if I made this again I would have cut back a bit on the sour cream and up the heavy cream. In France you can't find sour cream, only creme fraiche. It's that yummy.

Bistro au Pied de Fouet Jambonette de Volaille et sa Creme Ciboulette 

Servings: 4

2 pounds (1 kg) tiny new red potatoes (12 to 16 potatoes)

1 pound (500 g) boned whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), or 4 boneless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Flour for dredging, plus 3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) coarsely chopped onion

2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

3/4 cup (30 cl) creme fraiche (or 1/2 cup sour cream, add 1/4 cup heavy cream)

2 bunches fresh chives, coarsely chopped

In a covered steamer, steam the potatoes over boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender when 

pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Just before sauteing, dredge the 

chicken in flour and shake off the excess.

In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and saute the

 chicken for 2 minutes on each side. or until golden. Reduce heat to low, stir in the onion, cover 

and cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken once. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate: set 

aside and keep warm.

To make the sauce: In the same pan over medium heat, stir the stock or broth to scrape up the 

browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Raise heat to high and cook to reduce the liquid by a 

third. Reduce heat to medium low. stir in the crime fraiche, and slowly bring to a boil.

Knead the 2 tablespoons soft butter and 3 tablespoons flour together to make a paste. Whisk the 

paste into the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes, 

whisking often, until smooth and thick.

In a blender or food processor, puree the chives. Add the sauce and process until smooth.To 

serve, place a chicken piece on each of 4 plates and spoon over some of the chive sauce. Serve 

immediately, with steamed potatoes on the side.

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