Julia Child’s Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence by Kirsty Greenwood
I started obsessing with french cooking after watching the wonderful Julie and Julia. I can’t believe I’d never heard of Julia Child before that. She was my kind of cook: messy, uninhibited and really, really into butter. This garlic and herb chicken dish is simple and stunning. It was not featured in the movie but I chose it because it’s the least intimidating of her most famous dishes (I’m working myself up to that all day Boeuf Bourguignon!), doesn’t take ages to make and the yolky sauce may be the best one you’ll ever taste.
I’ve adapted the recipe in some places and have put the changes in brackets.
Chicken with Herbs de Provence
1/4 pound butter (I’ve tried it with half as much butter and it’s still great)
2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken (I have used breasts because I always have them in)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel (I just used a couple of fennel seeds, which I scooped out later)
Salt and pepper
3 cloves unpeeled garlic (I used four!)
2/3 cup dry white wine or 1/2 cup dry white vermouth
2 egg yolks (I used three – I think 2 makes a limited amount of sauce and it’s always nice to have a bit extra)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry white wine or vermouth
2 tablespoons fresh minced basil, fennel fronds or parsley (I used fresh basil)
- Heat your butter in a frying pan or skillet until it’s foaming slightly
- Add the chicken and saute it until it’s turning golden on the outside
- Add your dried herbs, unpeeled garlic cloves plus salt and pepper
- Cook the chicken for another 8-10 minutes for breasts and 12-15 minutes for bone-in pieces (it’s cooked when the juices run clear)
- Put the chicken onto a platter and cover
- Take a swig of your wine and add the rest to the pan. Let it sizzle and reduce at a medium to high heat. As it’s reducing press down on your garlic cloves with the back of a spoon so that they pop out of their skins. Be careful at this point – stand back to avoid any splashes or flying garlic incidents. Scoop out the skins and discard
- Gently mash the garlic with the spoon (or a masher) so it goes a bit smushy and stir your reducing wine, occasionally scraping from the bottom of the pan for all the good stuff
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan whisk your egg yolks until they thicken slightly and then beat in your tablespoon of lemon juice and tablespoon of wine
- Take you reduced wine off the heat and add it slowly (a teaspoon at a time) to the egg yolks, being sure to keep beating – soon you’ll have hollandaise. Check you out!
- Put the sauce on a low heat and continue to stir for about 3-4 minutes until it thickens further
- Add half the basil to the sauce and stir
- Dish out the chicken and top with the sauce and a few more chopped basil leaves. Serve with griddled asparagus and potatoes.
- Bon Appetit!