Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whole Chickens, On Rue Tatin and That Should Have Been ME!

And as far as the title goes, not quite in that order.

My husband decided to torment me this year with not one, but TWO, count 'em, TWO books about living in France. I devoured the first one, in a manner of speaking--I'll Never be French (No matter what I do..) by Mark Greenside, a writer. I should be doing this.

Then on to the second: On Rue Tatin by Suzanne Loomis. I REALLY should be doing this and wonder how it is that I have not. I'm adventurous, a writer, a cook/chef (NAME DROP: I cooked at Union Square Cafe in NYC, and I once cooked with Bobby Flay, which impresses my kids NO END, no matter how often I explain it was just when he visited Philadelphia and cooked at Jack's Firehouse for The Book and The Cook)...and I would SO drop everything and move to France. Or Italy. Or Spain.

I want a run-down stone house to fix up. A project. I want to shop every day where the butchers know my name and point me in the right direction of the nicest cut or the fishmonger knows which fish was in the sea just hours ago.

I want to buy bread that goes stale if you don't eat it. I want to live in a village where i walk to do my shopping. And I want to do it all in another language. (Oh, if you have this position available, don't hesitate to write me at barb[at]barbfreda[dot]com. Joking. Well, kind of.)

Which leads me to tonight's meal. The braised chicken in On Rue Tatin--Brown a cut up chicken in olive oil, remove chicken, add onions to the pan; return chicken to the pan, top with mustard and white wine mixture, then cook 50 minutes at 475--25 minutes on one side, then flip the pieces and 25 minutes on the other. (Do buy the book; you'll get the complete recipe there.)

I found organic whole chickens at Costco today..Coleman, I think--yes, Coleman. I broke one down, and let's just say this:

  • My knives are dull. Shamefully so.
  • I haven't broken down a whole chicken in years--my skills are rusty...
  • It was so worth it.

I haven't done this in ages probably because everything comes packaged just so, deboned, deskinned, plastic-wrapped. But this is really so wonderful. It was engaging food, is that fair to say? The wings and backbone I tossed into a stock pot, added celery, onion and carrots and made into a beautiful stock. I cooked the liver and heart for a treat for the dog.

And I made Braised Chicken. It's cooking now. We'll have it with roasted red potatoes and a tossed salad and (more) wine. What a fabulous dinner for a rainy winter day in Charlotte.

As for the books, I'm almost done with Suzanne's book. Could I ever have talked my husband into leaving the States and the safety (heh. that's relative) of his office job? Not likely. But he DID get me these books. Two of them. Maybe he's dropping a big hint. Maybe I should go house hunting. In France. Or Italy. Or Spain...In the meantime, go read the books.

Nice. Very nice.


Anonymous said...

Or at least visit Italy, France and the legendary foodie countries -- maybe take a cooking class?

Karen Bannan said...

That sounds like the yummiest recipe! Especially since you added my favorite side dish -- red potatoes! (If you added broccoli rabe I would have probably come over to mooch!)

I am inspired. Maybe my kids would like this. I'll have to give it a try.

Alexandra Grabbe said...

Cooking class sounds like a great idea. You would not really want to live there, Babette. Trust me. I did it for 25 years. There are some great immersion cooking courses at amazing locations these days.

Thanks for mentioning the organic chicken at Costco. I have not seen any at the closest Costco to the Cape, but will now know its an option and ask the manager to get his hands on some.

Sheryl Kraft said...

Sounds absolutely amazing. Not just the recipe, but moving to Italy, France or Spain. Is there a recipe for that, I wonder? :)

joene said...

OMG ... are we on the same page fantasy wise. France, stone house, fresh food, walk everywhere ... sigh. The chicken sounds delicious and I'm going to try it. I hope you had French wine with your meal. Sigh, again.

Polly said...

OK, not only did you make ME want to move to France or Italy, but I'm also inspired to cook a whole chicken.

Cara Mia said...

I get so depressed everytime I read that book . . . I so want to live in France in a small picturesque village drinking lattes in white bowls and eating tartines on a cold crisp morning!