with Peas and Bacon
Makes 4 to 5 servings
The friend who shared this recipe with me is an unabashed Italophile who was inspired to add prosciutto and cream to a French roast chicken. What I like best about his improvisation is the sorrel, which tips the balance away from salty bacon and rich cream, cutting through and lightening the dish. Balance and subtlety is what French cuisine is all about.
One 5 -pound boiling hen,
with feet if possible
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons, unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry vermouth or
herbaceous dry white wine,
such as Muscadet or Vouvray
1/4 cup crème frâiche or heavy cream
1/4 pound prosciutto, finely diced
12 sorrel leaves, center ribs
removed and leaves chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Turn the wings under the bird and tie the legs together.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the oil in a Dutch oven. Lay the bird on one breast, cover, and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Carefully turn the chicken onto its other breast, cover, and roast for another 20 minutes. Turn the bird on its back, cover, and roast another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced. Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover, and keep warm.
4. Skim the fat from the juices in the casserole and return it to low heat. If using fresh peas, add them now. Add the shallots and cook until soft but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the vermouth, creme fraiche, and prosciutto, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half about 4 minutes. Pour any juices that have collected around the bird into the pot. Add the frozen defrosted peas, which only need to warm through, and the sorrel.
5. Remove from the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and pour the sauce into a sauceboat. Serve immediately with the chicken.
Parisian Home Cooking
Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from the
Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris
By Michael Roberts
William Morrow & Company
Hardcover, $25.00, June 1999
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created July 1999
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