"No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing."
Julia Child is right, and this is perfectly applicable to any other circumstance in one's life -screw up, learn from mistakes and most importantly, have fun. Even the greatest start of late, it wasn't until her mid 30s and after moving to France, when Mrs. Child began her fascination with haute cuisine and french culture. Now, if you've seen a certain movie starring the delightful Meryl Streep, then you probably know in a broad sense her process from just being a diplomat's wife to becoming an American food institution. The passion and fun she infused into every one her recipes and dishes is one of my key drivers when I'm cooking; in a way, I try not to take myself so seriously in the kitchen, as I generally kind of do in the rest of my life. That being said, I choose a simple, traditional and very flavorful recipe for tonight -and one of Julia's favorites, in the hopes to convince myself more and more to plan a vacation to Paris and drive down to Provence and the south coast, drinking wine and eating amazing food along the way.
4 full chicken leg pieces (drumstick + thighs)
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp basil
Salt and pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and in a saucepan, add a bit olive oil and brown it, skin down, for about 7-8 minutes, set aside. Slice the onion, the garlic and the peppers, and on the same pan, add a bit of butter and fry in medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and basil and cook until the liquid is reduce to at least half. Stir in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the flavor, and reduce for a bit.
Return the chicken to the pan, cover and cook at low heat for about 25-30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare rice pilaf as the side dish, the process is similar to quinoa, let water simmer until the rice acquires the desired fluff. Lay a bed of rice on a plate, place a chicken piece, pour sauce atop et voilà!
The chicken's dark meat tends to be the richest in flavor and the process of slow-cooking it in a thick tomato and onion sauce, makes it more flavorful and incredibly tender; the meat literally falls from the bone and melts in each bite. A variation of the side of rice, which I thought of while eating, that would go nicely with the poulet is simmering it with a bit of saffron like in a paella; a nice presentation in color, texture and scent.
Thank you as always for reading, and see you next Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday!