Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chicken with Garlic Pearls and Pineau de Charentes

I used Paula Wolfert's recipe for Chicken with Garlic Pearls and Sauternes-substituting the Pineau de Charentes for the Sauternes (see my previous post on Pineau de Charentes). Her extremely well written recipe is from her book "The Cooking of Southwest France". I used 4 leg quarters (I don't personally care for eating chicken breast) rather than the whole bird called for in the recipe. You'll need to make creme fraich ahead of time (mix 1 cup heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk-let the mixture sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours-cover and refrigerate for up to one week). It is an involved recipe, but not difficult and the results are spectacular. I think I might use this technique for this year's Thanksgiving turkey. I also added some wild mushrooms sauteed in butter and deglazed with sherry.

For the chicken:
1 chicken or 4 leg quarters
Quarter the chicken, salt and pepper the pieces, and marinate the pieces in the creme fraiche for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Roast the chicken in a preheated 375 degree oven, basting with additional creme fraiche for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Run the chicken under the broiler for extra crispy skin.

For the garlic pearls:
2 head of fresh garlic, separate the cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons of butter
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar

Plunge the garlic cloves into boiling water and boil for 3 minutes.

Cool the garlic and peel, leaving the cloves whole.

Melt the butter in a saute pan over very low heat, add the garlic and sugar. place the saute pan in a 350 degree oven and roast until the garlic is soft and golden-not brown. Shake the pan but do not stir or the garlic may break up. Can be prepared ahead of time.

For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons of rendered poultry fat or oil
1 3/4 cup sliced onions
1 2/3 cup sliced carrots
1 leek, split and cleaned, sliced
2 pounds of veal bones
1 pounds chicken bones
1 bottle Pineau de Charentes- Sauternes or sweet white wine can be substituted
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
Herb bouquet of parsley, thyme, bay, and celery leaf-all tied together
1/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon juice, optional
Brown the bones and vegetables in the rendered fat over low heat-a long slow caramelization process that should take up to 15 minutes.

Drain off the fat, and begin adding the wine. Add the wine one cup at a time, letting the wine evaporate until it becomes syrupy before adding the next cup of wine.

Add the stock and the herb bouquet, cook covered for 1 hour.

Strain the mixture into a sauce pan, skim off any fat. Bring the mixture to the boil and reduce for 10 minutes, continually skimming any foamy debris. I also added some additional onion slices to be left in the finished sauce-Paula uses additional carrot slices. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time up to this point.

Add the cream and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon-taste for seasoning and add fresh lemon juice if the sauce is too sweet.

Add the garlic pearls.

Ladle the sauce over the roasted chicken, and top with the sauteed mushrooms-the mushrooms are optional.

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