Chicken with Walnuts
Poulet aux Noix


This recipe comes from the heart of walnut-growing country, in the Rhone-Alpes near Grenoble. There Francoise Chevallier, whose husband, Jean, raises walnuts, adds them to all manner of dishes, constantly demonstrating their versatility. She has an unending supply of nuts, so she enjoys her experiments. Mme. Chevallier gave me this recipe, which I've adapted slightly, and I love it. Chicken and walnuts are an ideal combination—they set each other off—and the garlic smoothes out the entire dish. Try to get a good farm-raised chicken and the sweetest walnuts you can find.

Though born on a farm in the French countryside, this recipe easily dresses up for dinner. For a perfect meal, put it on an elegant warmed platter, be sure to light plenty of candles, and serve a crisp escarole or Belgian endive salad afterward.

Try a nice, lightly chilled white Burgundy alongside.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds; 1-3/4 to 2 kg),
         cut into 8 pieces (2 breast pieces, 2 wings with portion of breast attached,
         2 legs, 2 thighs), giblets reserved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine, such as a Vouvray
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1-1/4 cups (140 g) walnut halves or large pieces

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, brown the chicken pieces, seasoning them liberally with salt and pepper, until they are golden, about 5 minutes per side.

2. Add the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons wine, and the garlic cloves to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 15 minutes. Then stir the walnuts into the skillet, along with the giblets, cover, and continue cooking for about 8 minutes. Remove the cover from the skillet and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the pan juices have evaporated and the chicken, walnuts, and garlic are golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Be sure to watch the walnuts, for they tend to brown easily. If they are getting too brown at any point in the cooking, remove and reserve them, returning them to the pan just before serving.

4 to 6 servings


French Farmhouse Cookbook
by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Workman; December 1996
Paper: $14.95; ISBN: 1-56305-488-4
Cloth: $24.95; ISBN: 0-7611-0624-3 432
Recipe reprinted by permission.


French Farmhouse Cookbook


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