Chicken Pontalba


Chicken Pontalba is one of the many signature dishes served at old-line New OrleansMicaela_Pontalba Creole restaurants. This dish was created in New Orleans by Chef Paul Blange in the early days of Brennan’s in the French Quarter during the early 1950s and was a well-established local favorite when the Delmonico re-opened. The recipe is very similar to Chicken Clemenceau, but without the inclusion of green peas. The name Pontalba denotes richness, as the dish is named for  Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba (1795- 1874) who was a wealthy New Orleans-born aristocrat, businesswoman, and real estate developer, and one of the most dynamic personalities of that city’s history.

As  the wealthiest woman in New Orleans she built the opulent Pontalba buildings in 1848, that still flank Jackson Square in the historic French Quarter. The construction of the Pontalba Buildings cost more than $300,000  and she was a constant visitor to the construction sites, often supervising the work on horseback.



The cast-ironwork decorating the balconies were also her personal design and she had her initials “AP” carved into the center of each section. Considered the oldest apartments in Potatoes Pontalba wrought ironthe country, the buildings continue to house elegant residences upstairs and fine retail shops downstairs. The Baroness was also instrumental in the name change of Place d’Armes to Jackson Square; as well as the decision to convert it from a parade ground to a formal garden. It was alleged that when she was landscaping the garden, she threatened the mayor with a shotgun after he tried to prevent her from tearing down two rows of trees.

Andrew_Jackson_(14130889).jpgShe also helped finance the bronze equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson which features prominently in the square.Legend has it that her friend Andrew Jackson, once failed to raise his hat to the Baroness, so when she funded the statue baring his likeness she insisted that sculptor Clark Mills depict Jackson forever raising his hat toward her apartment building. Probably not true, but it is a great  story.

The Baroness  was also known to give  lavish parties and served rich creative Creole dishes to her guests during these affairs. And in that same  spirit , what could be any more different than the simple ingredients of cooked chicken napped with Bearnaise sauce all on a bed of deep fried potatoes, diced ham, mushrooms, onions, garlic and white wine? Chicken Pontalba, of course, which is a rich and lavish dish that is truly Creole in creation  and meant to be enjoyed as fine  dining.


Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, lightly pounded
1 large baking potato, cut into 1/2- inch dice
3/4 cup ham, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 1/2 cups baby Portabella mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground  black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Vegetable oil

For the Bearnaise Sauce , click here for the recipe 

Preheat an oven to 400 ° F.

Toss the Potatoes in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crispy.

In the meantime, season the flour with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Season the thighs also, then dredge pieces in the flour.

When the potatoes are almost ready, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a saute pan. When the fat is hot, brown the chicken quickly on both sides, place on a ovenproof dish and finish in the oven.

In the same saute pan, add the ham and onions, saute until golden brown and the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a tablespoon more butter. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until the alcohol evaporates.

Fold in the brabant potatoes from the oven and 1 tablespoon of the parsley, taste for seasonings. Just before serving, incorporate the last tablespoon of butter.

Split the potato mixture between two heated plates. Top each with a chicken thigh, and finish with a generous drizzle of Bearnaise sauce. Garnish with minced parsley.

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Pan Fried Hake with Crispy Garlic

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Hello Friends!

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much! Parenting Team FC Contributor

Poulet au Vinaigre

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Chicken with Vinegar Sauce

The French city of Lyon has been internationally known as culinary destination since the 16th Century with its regional specialties that have become elevated in status as Lyonnaise cuisine. These dishes featured summer vegetables from farms in Bresse and Charolais, game from the Dombes, lake fish from Savoy, spring fruits and vegetables from Drôme and Ardèche, and wines from Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley.

In the 18th Century, middle-class women, Mères lyonnaises (Mothers of Lyon) gave birth to Lyon’s current gourmet reputation. These women of modest means, left their homes to work as cooks in large wealthy households in Lyon and eventually started their own businesses, serving dishes that mixed homemade and traditional French cuisine, creating a brand new culinary traditions incorporating their regional roots.The first historical mention of a Mère dates back to Mère Guy in 1759. Located on the Rhône River in the Mulatière region, her self-named guinguette, an open-air restaurant) specialized inmatelote d’anguilles, which was  a dish of stewed eels in white or red-wine sauce.

A century later, Mère Guy’s granddaughters, referred to as La Génie (the Genius) and Maréchal, became the new face of Mère Guy, bringing back classic recipes, including their grandmother’s stewed eels, the dish that “made the Mère Guy reputation.” This reputation attracted honoured guests, including the Empress Eugénie on her annual visit to the thermal waters of neighbouring Aix-les-Bains. Around this time (1830-1850), Mère Brigousse ran a restaurant in the Charpennes district of Lyon. One of her most popular dishes was Tétons de Vénus (En: Venus’ breasts), large breast-shaped quenelles.

Mère Fillioux (Françoise Fillioux, 1865-1925) was the first Mère whose “reputation was known well beyond the limits of the city and region.” She established a restaurant on 73 rue Duquesne, k833_001.jpgnown for a simple, unchanging menu featuring her own culinary creations, such as volaille demi-deuil  (Fowl in half-mourning). The dish takes its name from her technique of cooking “a fattened hen with slivers of truffle inserted between skin and flesh. The alternating black and white appearance of the flesh explains the term ‘half mourning’, a period following the all-black dress of full mourning, when it was acceptable for widows to alternate black and white or grey clothing.”  Their success was linked to the rise of automobile tourism, as promoted by the Michelin Guide, and the development of the city of Lyon under mayor Edouard Herriot. While the Mères started out serving a client base of working-class people, such as journeymen, in this industrial city, the reputation of their meals soon spread to a much wealthier clientele. Celebrities, businessmen and politicians came to frequent these establishments despite the mixing of the social classes, particularly in the Golden Age of the Mères, during the Inter-War period. They offered a menu that was simple (four or five traditional dishes yet refined enough to guarantee both culinary pleasure and a welcoming ambiance.

Many more women joined their numbers during the Great Depression, when they were let go from the wealthy households that employed them. In 1935, the famed food critic Curnonsky, also known as Maurice Edmond Sailland (181304362257curnonsky.jpg72-1956), did not hesitate to describe the city of Lyon as the “world capital of gastronomy.” In the 21st Century, Lyon’s cuisine is defined by simplicity and quality, and is exported to other parts of France and abroad. With more than a thousand eateries, the city of Lyon has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita in France.

There is nothing fussy about Lyonnaise cuisine. It just plain tastes good, really good, and you can get a lot of it on your  plate without breaking your budget trying to feed a hungry crowd. And poulet au vinaigre is one of the most potently consoling dishes ever to come from the French kitchen.

The chicken is browned and then simmered in a sauce built in two stages with stock, white wine, vinegar, shallots, garlic, onions, tomatoes and cream. While the trio of alliums gives it a rich depth of flavor, it’s the racy if cream-muffled notes of acidity from the tomatoes, vinegar and wine that make this dish so satisfying, leaving you very happy and deeply nourished. Poulet au vinaigre   is the perfect  dish  to invite friends over for dinner during the cold  winter months, and to enjoy  it with a good rustic bread and fine bottle of Burgundy.

Serves 4 to 6

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
One 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 Roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried, plus fresh tarragon leaves for garnish
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups light cream
Cooked white rice, for serving

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken and cook, turning to brown all over, 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

To the same Dutch oven, add garlic, onions and shallots and sauté over medium-low heat until transparent but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, then add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, stock, tarragon, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Return chicken pieces to pan, lower heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until chicken is tender and cooked through, 45 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces. Add cream and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, 1 hour. Pass sauce through a strainer or fine-mesh sieve. Adjust seasoning if needed. Return chicken and sauce to pot and place over medium heat to warm, 5 minutes.

To serve, arrange chicken pieces over white rice. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with fresh tarragon, if using.



Hello Friends!

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much! Parenting Team FC Contributor