I planned to prepare poulet à la provençale today because I assumed that, being spring, it would be a warm, sunny day. At the time of writing this it is 11 celsius, but walking home from the gym before lunch I noted a cool 8 celsius on my phone's display. It doesn't really matter anyway, as poulet à la provençale is quite a warming dish and teamed with roasted potatoes we won't be feeling unsatisfied.
By now you might be able to tell that, weather wise, things are a bit precarious in Paris. But there is more sun than a few months - weeks - ago, and its been an onslaught of blooming trees and garden beds and sprouting greenery. I'm trusting that things will continue heating up after this cold spell, and my goal to explore Provencial cooking will no longer feel so out of place!
Below is my version of poulet à la provencale. Apparently there are many ways one can go about making it, but I think mine is quite loyal to the tradition of the dish (but maybe not from a purist's perspective? I have no idea.) Anyway, I think it tastes great and for what it reaps it's very easy and time-friendly to make.
In other news, Rémi and I will be on vacation from the end of this week. I'm dying to see more of France and so we're spending next week cycling along the Loire. It should be a fun overdose of chateaux, wine and - hopefully! -sunshine. Fingers crossed for no rain, eh!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg of chicken (breasts, thighs or both)
- 8-10 eschallots (french shallots), skinned and halved
- 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1.5 cups dry red wine
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes, two quartered and two diced
- 1 medium-sized capsicum, slithered
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- a generous handful of pitted black olives
- 1 bay leaf, crushed
- fresh or dried rosemary
- fresh or dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- optional: fresh lemon juice
- Heat oil in a large, deep pan.
- Add chicken and brown all sides for a few minutes. Remove and set aside on a plate.
- Add the french shallots and garlic. Cook them on a low-medium heat until translucent, trying not to burn them. You may need to add more oil to prevent them from sticking to your pan.
- Add wine. Let it simmer until reduced to about 3/4 of a cup.
- Add tomatoes, capsicum, tomato paste, olives, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and a big pinch of salt. Cover and let simmer for five minutes or until you see the tomato and capsicum softening.
- Add the chicken, cover, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.
- Season with salt, pepper and (optional) lemon juice. Garnish with rosemary and thyme.
- Serve with lightly seasoned green beans, roasted potatoes, a simple salad or all of the above.
- You might like to match your provençale dish with a wine from Provence. Provence mostly produces rosé, but they do great whites and reds, too. These tend to be lower in acidity than wines from central and northern France, which is what I love about them most.