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    Monday, October 03, 2016

    Food From Provence - Chicken , Potatoes, Tomatoes, Garlic - Perfect for a Family Dinner

    When we get together for Family Dinner its a great opportunity to find something different to cook.
    I took my inspiration this time from the NY Times Cook Column, which is emailed to me almost everyday.

    The aromas coming out of my kitchen, while the food was cooking. Divine. Garlic, onions, Herbes de Provence, Roast Chicken. Close your eyes and imagine this
    Such a lucky Family, I reckon
    Quite a lot of prep is required, but the up side is once it's all prepared just some last minute heating, plenty of time to sit and drink some wine with you guests

    So The Menu read
    Cauliflower and Cashew Soup
    French Provencal Chicken
    French Provencal Potatoes ( courtesy Julia Child) 
    Accompanied by
    Charred Broccoli and Rocket Salad
    and to Follow The Best Ever Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cake 

    For this post I will just address the Main Course.
    First Course and "Pudding" later

    The chicken dish required Skin on, Bone in, Chicken Thighs, but when you are cooling for a crowd
    That takes up a lot of space in the oven.
    So I decided to bone the thighs myself. Much neater
    Took a while but I am very pleased with my labour,
    Tidy little thighs with a bag of bones for roasting, to make stock
    So the bonus, some rendered chicken fat and some very tasty stock, for a later date
    French Provencal Chicken
    This amount will feed four people
    I was feeding 11, so hence the quantities you see in the photos
    Adapt as you see fit
    The recipe called for Vermouth but I don't normally have that on hand so I used a dry white wine

        •    8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
        •    2 teaspoons kosher salt
        •    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        •    ½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour
        •    3 tablespoons olive oil
        •    2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
        •    1 lemon, quartered
        •    8 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled
        •    4 to 6 medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
        •    ⅓ cup dry white wine
        •    4 sprigs of thyme, for serving

    Heat oven to 400 degrees.
    Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
    Put the flour in a shallow pan, and lightly dredge the
    chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
    Swirl the oil in a hot large roasting pan, and place the
    floured chicken in it.
    Turn the chicken over to oil all sides
    Season the chicken with the Herbes de Provence.
    Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around
    the chicken, then add the vermouth to the pan.
    Put the pan in the oven, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes,
    then baste it with the pan juices.
    Continue roasting for another 25 to 30 minutes,
    or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat
    cooked through.
    Transfer to a warm Platter and serve
    Now for the French Provencal Potatoes, 
    just like Potato Gratin, but using soft fragrant onions and tomatoes sauteed in olive oil for the liquid instead of milk and cream
    I didn't use the  anchovies, as our grandson is allergic to fish
    So I just smashed the garlic with the Herbes de Provence and olive oil
    Add this paste to the onion and tomato
    I have left the anchovies in the recipe as Next time, I will add them

        •    2 to 3 onions, thinly sliced (2 heaping cups)
        •    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
        •     Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
        •    1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips about 3/8-inch wide
        •    1 2-ounce can anchovies packed in olive oil, drained (reserve anchovies and oil separately)
        •    2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
        •    2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence
        •     About 2 pounds thin-skinned, waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold, sliced 1/8-inch thick 

              (6 to 7 cups)
        •    ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyère

    Heat oven to 400 degrees and place a rack at the middle level.
    In a large saucepan, combine onions and 2 tablespoons olive oil
    and stir to coat over low heat.
    Sprinkle lightly with salt.
    At a gentle simmer, cook uncovered until onions
    are softened and lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes,
    stirring often. Do not brown; lower the heat if necessary.
    When done, fold in tomatoes just until heated through.
    Set aside.

    In a small food processor or a mortar, add the anchovies
    anywhere from 6 to 12 fillets, depending on their
    size and your taste.
    Add garlic, herbs and a dozen grinds of pepper.
    Add 2 tablespoons olive oil (or use the oil from the
    anchovy can, if you like).
    Crush or pulse together into a chunky paste,
    thinning with oil as needed to make a loose, fluid mixture.
    Add to the onion tomato mixture

    In a medium-size baking dish, spread a quarter of the
    onion-tomato mixture.
    On top, arrange half the potato slices,
    Add half the remaining onion-tomato mixture.
    Build one more layer with remaining potato slices,
    then onion-tomato mixture.
    Sprinkle cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil.
    If the dish is very full, place on a baking sheet.
    Transfer to oven and bake, uncovered, until the potatoes
    are tender and have absorbed all of the juices in the
    bottom of the dish, 40 to 50 minutes.
    Test by tasting a bit of potato; it should be soft all the
    way through, with no raw taste.
    If the top is browning too fast, cover very loosely with
    a sheet of foil.
    If the top is not brown enough when the potatoes
    are cooked, broil briefly until deliciously glazed.
    Serve gratin hot or warm.
    Can be cooled and reheated later the same day,
    but do not refrigerate.
     So you do need something green with this meal 
    How about this Charred Broccoli and Rocket Salad 
    Just a slightly different touch to the Broccoli
    A quick char on a grill for that extra flavour

    Serve 6

    2 heads of broccoli, florets separated, stems peeled and reserved
    Kosher salt
    3 tablespoons olive oil

    1 oil-packed anchovy fillet
    1 garlic clove
    ⅔ cup mayonnaise
    ¼ cup buttermilk
    1 cup tarragon leaves
    ¼ cup chopped chives
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

    Finishing touches

    3 cups mature arugula, tough stems removed, leaves torn

    Make the Dressing first  
    Purée anchovy, garlic, mayonnaise, buttermilk, chervil, tarragon, chives, lemon juice, and mustard in a blender until smooth; season dressing with salt.
    This can be made ahead and will keep for up to 2 days
    Cover and chill
    Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, 
    about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let cool, then drain. Pat broccoli dry; place in a large bowl.
    Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Drizzle broccoli with oil and toss to coat; season with salt. Grill broccoli, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, 5–7 minutes.
    Return to bowl and let cool, tossing occasionally.
    Add Rocket to Broccoli and toss to combine.
    Drizzle salad with ¾ cup dressing and toss to coat; season with more salt if needed.
    Arrange salad on a platter
    The actual recipe, suggested sprinkling smoked cheddar over the top
    That didn't work with my Provencal flavours, but I knew it could work another time
    So keep this in mind for another occasion

    On the Waste Not, Want Not part of this post
    First the bits of potato, which didn't look attractive enough for the Gratin
    Don't waste please
    I cooked them in some boiling salted water, drained and mashed with some olive oil
    into the fridge
    There was some also leftover chicken
     So last night, I made a  roux with some of the chicken fat and used the stock underneath to make a very chickeny sauce
     Added the chicken cut into chunks and some frozen corn and more Herbes de Provence
    Add 2-3 tablespoons of the leftover Salad dressing, that tarragon flavour... perfect to add to the chicken
    Here you go
    I used some of this chicken mixture
    Topped with the mashed potato
    Voila, Dinner for one
    And the good news is there is a whole pile of chicken mixture to go into the freezer to be used at a later date.

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