Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mom's French Country Chicken

You might have heard it was my birthday last week. Next week I want to share the delicious recipe for the Carrot Cake (gluten and sugar free) my mom made me for my birthday.

This week I want to pass along a truly scrumptious recipe. When I was growing up this was what I asked my Mom to took for my birthday meal. Last week (before I got old) I made this for my own little family. I love it because it is relatively simple, yet tastes rich and fancy. It tastes like you've been simmering it all day.

Years ago, Mom and I created our own little cookbook. We gathered special family recipes. Mom illustrated the pages after I wrote all the copy. I then hand bound books for family and friends. They are really quite lovely.

This is the page for the French Chicken. 

Just so we're clear here. My artistic talents don't lie in this direction.

I can doodle respectably. That's about it.

So pretty.

The original recipe calls for a whole chicken, but I find that you can get away with what you have. Even a few chicken breasts will work. This day I used chicken thighs. They had been on sale at my grocery store for .99 a pound.

I started by cooking the chicken in salted water. The cooking time depends on what cut of chicken you are using. Anything with bones takes a little more time. 

While the chicken was cooking, I set Josiah cutting up the veggies.  For this recipe I used 3-4 carrots cut in chunks. I'm sure I had the same job when I was his age.

Then 2-3 stalks of celery needed to have the same treatment. He had a much easier time with celery. I wish he felt the same way about eating it.

Josiah decided he wanted to brave the onion, too. The recipe says just to chunk it up, but I like my onion pieces just a bit smaller. I did give them another good chop when Josiah left the kitchen.

After the chicken cooked I took it out of the broth (which I set aside) to cool. After it cooled I boned and skinned it.  I kept my pieces fairly big. My men like their chicken. I did remove the skin as well.

I then put the veggies on to saute in a big pot in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. I started out by sauteing them in a little olive oil, but you don't have to do that. I imagine I let them simmer 5 minutes or so.

After the veggies hadsimmered, they got covered in 2 cups of the leftover chicken broth, 1 cup of cooking wine, a bay leaf and a little thyme. You can substitute  chicken broth for the cooking wine if you wish. This is when I added my deboned chicken. I do have a suggestion. If you have used chicken breast, don't add until the end. This mixture simmered for 30 minutes.

While the chicken mixture cooked I got the rest of my ingredients together. The recipe calls for milk, but I had this in my fridge. It was crying out for attention. I was happy to oblige.In a sauce pan, I combined 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of the Half & Half.

I also added a teaspoon or so of my soup base. My leftover chicken broth quite didn't fill my 4 cup measuring cup so I filled the rest with water. This helped give it some flavor. I got this at a Mennonite grocery. No MSG!

I then added 5 Tablespoons of flour to the chicken stock. I worried a minute about this. You make a roux with butter, flour and broth. However, the recipe didn't say anything about a roux. I just shut my eyes and dumped everything into my little sauce pan. Thankfully, my French Chicken turned out lump free.

Add 4 Tablespoons of Buttah (yes, I went there)! And whisk into your chicken mixture. Then stir in 3 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Cook until its thickened. It won't take very long.

The final product is just wonderful! And pretty! And wonderful! And pretty!

I served my French Country Chicken with some baked brown rice and roasted asparagus.

Here is the recipe (minus my ramblings)

3-4 carrots, cut in large pieces
2-3 celery stalks, cut in large pieces
1 onion, chunked up
1 whole chicken
1 bay leaf
1 cup of cooking wine (may substitute chicken broth)
3 T Parmesan cheese
4 1/2 cups of chicken broth (divided)
4 T of butter
5 T of flour

Cook chicken in salted water. Save 4-5 cups of the broth for the sauce and debone the chicken. Saute carrots, celery and onions in one-half cup of chicken broth. Cover with chicken, cooking wine and 2 cups of broth. Simmer for 30 minutes. In a separate sauce pan mix together milk, parmesan cheese, 2 cups of chicken broth, flour and butter. Pour over chicken dish and cook until thickened. 

bon app├ętit! 

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