I was feeling sort of French on Sunday. I think it was due to the fact that we finally made it to Pied-A-Terre
, a beautiful restaurant down the street, the night before. So lovely….a sophisticated room with a menu to match. Definitely left me wanting more.
So there I was, Sunday, leafing through my cookbooks when I came across a recipe for Chicken Bouillabaisse. Chicken? Really? I had always associated this dish with fish. However Ina Gartner (aka the Barefoot Contessa) had a different take on it. Now, totally confused, I decided to do some research. According to Wikipedia, bouillabaisse is derived from the Provencal Occitan (a dialect spoken in south of France/Spain) words “Bolhir” (to boil) and “Abaissar” (to simmer). So, it seems as though the term references the cooking method, as opposed to the ingredients. Mystery solved – although in hindsight, I don’t think I had ever bothered to translate bouillabaisse any further than “yummy fish soup”….tres french, non?
Adapted from Ina Garnter
- 3 lbs chicken (I used thighs but you can mix it up with whatever parts you like)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- coarse salt and pepper
- 1 head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 Tsp saffron threads
- 1/8 c. pernod (I didn’t have any so I used cognac – equally as lovely, or you can skip it entirely)
- 1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 lb yellow fleshed potatoes (I like Yukon Gold, but that’s just me)
Do meals call to you? An occasion presents itself and from somewhere in your stack of cookbooks or your grandmother’s recipes, you hear a meal…calling to you. Perhaps it is Eggs Benedict for a lazy Saturday brunch? BBQd ribs for the 4th of July? Spaghetti Carbonara on Wednesday? For me, it is quite frequently a chicken I hear calling for Sunday dinner. In the spring, you can poach it in milk, a la Jamie Oliver. In the summer, I like to butterfly the bird and grill with some lemon and rosemary. When the weather turns colder, it is a nice roast chicken with crispy skin straight from the oven that I hear.
In all honesty, this particular meal has called to me a lot over the years so I find myself looking for ways to mix it up a bit. A few Sundays ago, I tried a Moroccan roast chicken that I found on-line. It sounded so lovely…a paste of paprika and herbs rubbed under the skin with some lemons quartered and tucked away in the roasting pan. I am not sure if it was the recipe or user error, but let’s just say that this dish won’t be calling to me for a while. However, all was not lost as I salvaged the roasted lemons and turned them into the most beautiful dressing for my couscous…a true lemonade out of lemons occasion.
CousCous with Dates, Almonds and Roasted Lemon Dressing
or what I fondly refer to as the “1/4 cup salad”
- 1 1/2 cups of couscous
- 3 cups of water
- small pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup of pitted dates, cut into smallish pieces
- 1/4 cups of dried cranberries/blueberries/whatever you like
- 1/4 cups of slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup of diced green onions
- 3/4 cup of chickpeas
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- the juice from one roasted lemon (see above)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- pinch of cinnamon (optional but yummy)