Louis & Lucille Armstrong : Red Beans and Rice—-A Love Story

This year, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras fall on the same week.

And I cannot think of a better way to celebrate both days with a plate of red beans and rice.

Louis Armstrong was a native son of  New Orleans and loved red beans and rice – so much so, that he often signed his letters “Red Beans & Ricely Yours! Louis Armstrong.” When he and Lucille, a Northerner, were courting in the early 1940s, he asked her if she knew how to cook his favorite dish. Lucille laughed, thinking he was just teasing her. But then she realized the seriousness of his question – and his intentions. It was a litmus test. Louis had to make sure that Lucille was able to cook his favorite dish. Being from New Orleans where red beans and rice is a staple, Satchmo wasn’t joking. She said she didn’t know how to yet, but that she could learn and requested a few days to scramble for a recipe. Two days later,  she invited him to meet her parents over a dinner of home-cooked red beans and rice. He described her version as, “Just what the doctor ordered.” Not long after, the two became engaged and were married in October 1942.

While many know of Louis’ accomplishments on stage, little is known about his personal life. Louis was married four times, his first marriage occurring when he was only 17 years old. However, it was his fourth and final marriage, to Lucille Wilson Armstrong, that was his longest. This was the relationship that would define the rest of Louis’ life and his legacy.


About Lucille…….

Lucille Buchanan Wilson Armstrong was born in the Bronx, on January, 13, 1914, to the owner of a cab company. When the stock market crashed and destroyed her father’s business, Lucille was forced to drop out of high school and focus on becoming a dancer. 

In order to help pay the bills, Lucille worked the club circuit dancing in shows in chorus lines. Lucille found great success; she danced on Broadway in the show “Flying Colors” and became a regular dancer in the chorus line at the famed Cotton Club.

The Cotton Club was one of the best known clubs in New York City from 1923 to 1940. It was located on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue (1923-1936), then briefly in the midtown Theater District (1936-1940). The club operated during the United States’ era of Prohibition and Jim Crow era racial segregation. African Americans  initially could not patronize the Cotton Club, but the venue featured many of the most popular black entertainers of the era, including musicians Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Chick Webb,  Count Basie, Fats Waller, Willie Bryant; vocalists Adelaide Hall, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Aida Ward, Avon Long, the Dandridge Sisters, the Will Vodery Choir, The Mills Brothers, Nina Mae McKinney, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and dancers such as Katherine Dunham, Bill Robinson, The Nicholas Brothers, Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, Leonard Reed,  Lincoln Perry (Stepin Fetchit), the Berry Brothers, The Four Step Brothers, Jeni Le Gon and Earl Snakehips Tucker.

At its prime, the Cotton Club served as a hip meeting spot, with regular “Celebrity Nights” on Sundays featuring guests such as Jimmy Durante, George Gershwin, Sophie Tucker, Paul Robeson, Al Jolson, Mae West, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Langston Hughes, Judy Garland, Moss Hart, and Jimmy Walker, among others.

At The Cotton Club, Lucille received high praise and a local critic even wrote, “the most important contribution to the city’s ha-cha-cha is in the person of an obscure youngster, in the chorus, by the name of Lucille Wilson.”

Everyone performed there — and as you might have guessed, another notable name performed at The Cotton Club — Louis Armstrong.

After traveling throughout Europe for a bit, performing in the chorus line of various shows, and receiving world-renowned praise for her talents, Lucille returned to The Cotton Club.

Louis and Lucille met at the club in 1939, and Louis was smitten with her immediately. Lucille knew who the musician was – her mother was a huge fan and Lucille had been raised on Armstrong’s records. In an interview, Lucille said that she couldn’t imagine why a man who was 13 years older, with so much life experience, would be interested in her.

One night, when Louis was at The Cotton Club, he told Lucille that he wanted to buy all of the cookies that she would sell to the dancers and band members, in order to make some extra money. He and a member of his band would then take the cookies and distribute them to children at a local school.

From then on, Lucille and Louis were inseparable- at least when he was in town. Louis traveled frequently, performing in shows, but he did his best to keep the courtship going- he would call and wire Lucille regularly and married on October 12, 1942, after she passed the cooking  the red beans and rice test, of course.

Photo Courtesy Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives.





After they were married, Lucille quickly decided that life on the road wasn’t for her. She wanted to buy a house and put down roots of her own. She had an idea to buy a house, but Louis balked. She decided to buy the house anyway, and in March of  1943, Lucille put a down payment on a house in Corona, Queens, New York. The area was not far from the homes of other musicians, such as James Brown and Dizzy Gillespie.

When Louis got back from tour, he saw the house that Lucille had bought and absolutely loved it.

After she purchased the house, Lucille spent less time on the road with Louis, and more time at home. Although she was happy to finally be settled in Corona, Lucille gladly joined Louis whenever he traveled abroad. 

Photo Courtesy Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives.

This three story town home at was built in 1910. Armstrong was an international superstar and he could have lived anywhere in the world. But always down-to-earth, he and his wife Lucille chose a modest house in an ordinary neighborhood in Queens.

This is just a regular Queens ‘Archie Bunker’ home, and it looks like the home of a working man with a wife who loved shiny things. The den was the one room in the house that he could call his own. Louis said he didn’t ask for much in life, and this is the room Lucille gave him. He let her have the rest of the house.

Even after a state-of-the-art modernizing and remodelling, the kitchen remained a cozy center of their home. where they’d live for the rest of their days. Although Louis’ demanding tour schedule kept him on the road much of the time, he still developed close ties with his community at home.


Kitchen Highlights

Can you imagine Mrs. Armstrong cooking in her kitchen. If walls could talk, what stories they could tell. 

  • All the doors on the glossy blue custom cabinets are mounted on piano hinges.
  • A Nutone food processor, outfitted with an assortment of attachments is built right into the counter top.
  • Covered dispensers for waxed paper and aluminum foil are built into the wall for easy access
  • Long before the era of Viking ranges, Lucille commissioned a deluxe stove from the maker, Crown.
  • The kitchen also boasts an early 1960s Sub Zero refrigerator, customized to match the cabinetry.
  • A chair converts into a kitchen step-stool with a flip of the seat. Lucille stood 5′ and Louis 5’4″ and frequently used the stool to reach high shelves.






Today, the neighborhood feels like a foreign country, predominantly Latin. On a recent visit, Caribbean music could be heard over the hum of a vintage window air conditioner in Armstrong’s second-floor, wood-paneled den. Shelves and cabinets with glass doors held reel-to-reel tape recorders and boxed recordings of Armstrong’s musings and practice sessions. Among the audio documents, museum staffers discovered tapes of the couple’s daily life in the house – a narrow brick place that they shared with numerous dogs.





Jazz great Louis Armstrong entertains neighborhood children on the front porch of his home in Corona, Queens. (Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum).















The Armstrongs had no children of their own, but Louis would often invite neighborhood kids over to hear him play. When the ice cream truck came by their street, he’d buy them all frozen treats, but only, as Louis Armstrong House tour guide, MacKerrow Talcott, recounts “if they’d finished all their homework.” However,  it was revealed in December 2012, 57-year-old Sharon Preston-Folta claimed to be his daughter from a 1950s affair between Armstrong and Lucille “Sweets” Preston, a dancer at the Cotton Club. In a 1955 letter to his manager, Joe Glaser, Armstrong affirmed his belief that Preston’s newborn baby was his daughter, and ordered Glaser to pay a monthly allowance of $400 (US$4,772 in 2019 dollars) to mother and child.

In the late ’60s, when Louis’ health began to decline, Lucille converted the den in their home, making it more comfortable for him, and dedicated herself to nursing him back to health.

By 1970, Lucille rarely left Louis’ side, even joining him for TV appearances, much to the delight of audiences. After Louis died on July 6, 1971, at the age of 69, Lucille dedicated the rest of her life to preserving his legacy. She began traveling the world, giving lectures about Louis’ work and life and met with musicians that Louis worked with (and some he didn’t have the opportunity to work with).

She also worked to have the Singer Bowl, located in Queens, renamed in Louis’ honor. The Louis Armstrong Memorial Stadium was dedicated in 1973 and held that name until it was demolished in 2016. The new stadium, located on the same site, was dedicated as Louis Armstrong Stadium in 2018.

In 1976, Lucille filed paperwork to have her and Louis’ Corona family home established as a National Historic Landmark and a plaque declaring it so was placed in 1977. The home is now the location of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, per Lucille’s request. The house contains all of the scrapbooks, photos and news clippings that the couple collected throughout Louis’ life.

Lucille passed away on October  3, 1983, in Boston, where she had planned to attend Louis Armstrong memorial events. Lucille’s willed everything to The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. and the family home was willed to the City of New York. Until the end, Lucille was dedicated to her Louis. Her love for the legend can’t be mistaken and will never be forgotten.

The home now serves the public as The Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, the Museums Council of New York City, the New York State Museums Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and NYC & Company. The Museum is a constituent of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.

The historic site is owned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by Queens College under a long-term license agreement.

The mission of The Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives sustains and promotes the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong by preserving and interpreting Armstrong’s house and grounds, collecting and sharing archival materials that document Armstrong’s life and legacy, and presenting public programs such as exhibits, concerts, lectures, and film screenings. The Museum seeks to educate and inspire people of all ages, origins, and locations.

Although the museum is closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you can still visit on-line Make sure you check out the special virtual events that the museum will be hosting throughout the year.

In 1970, he wrote about early life with Lucille, as collected in Louis Armstrong In His Own Words: Selected Writings (ed. Thomas Brothers):

The Red Beans + Rice that Lucille Cooked for me was just what the Doctor ordered. Very much delicious and I Ate Just like a dog. I said forgive me after I had finished eating. I Just had to make some kind of excuse. She accepted it very cheerful. Because I am sure that Lucille has never witnessed any one Human Being eating So much. Especially at one Sitting. I had her to save the rest of the Beans that was left over. Then I’d come another time and finish them. We commenced getting closer “n” closer as time went by.

So satisfied was he with her take that when he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show — a daytime television talk show — in 1970, he brought on Lucille for a red beans and rice cooking demonstration.

On the May 26, 1970 episode of “The Mike Douglas Show,” Lucille Armstrong hosted a cooking segment on her recipe for red beans and rice while Louis, Mike Douglas, Caesar Romero and Joe Williams look on.


Louis and Lucille were the ultimate power couple in their day, as they were happily married for nearly three decades, until Louis’ death in 1971. I like to think that love and food kept them together for all of those years. 

Photo Courtesy Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives














And if you don’t know already by now…….

Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine, traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, For the most part, ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Besides the red beans, the seasoning  known as the bell pepper, onion, and celery along with spices such as thyme, cayenne pepper and bay leaf, and the pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner,  were also added to the pot and  all the ingredients were cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly andouille), and tasso ham were added to the recipe as many cooks adapted the dish to what was on hand at the time. In most modern restaurants, these meats are also frequently used in the dish. The dish is now fairly common throughout the Southeast. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos, gallo pinto and feijoada.

Red beans and rice is one of the few New Orleans style dishes to be commonly served both in people’s homes and in restaurants. Many neighborhood restaurants and even schools continue to serve it as a Monday lunch or dinner special, usually with a side order of cornbread and either smoked sausage or a pork chop or fried chicken. While Monday washdays are largely a thing of the past, red beans remain a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties. Indeed, red beans and rice is very much part of the New Orleans identity. 

Courtesy of The Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM), here’s Louis and Lucille Armstrong’s red beans recipe, verbatim. (It’s transcribed below.) It’s an all-day and all-night process, and vegetarians will have to substitute. But for those who have only known canned beans, an afternoon spent simmering in aromatic vegetables might just prove revelatory true love.

Louis Armstrong's red beans and rice recipe.

Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum




By – Louis and Lucille Armstrong

Creole Red Beans (Kidney) And Rice

  • (Use 2 qt. pot with cover)
  • 1 lb. Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 lb. Salt Pork (Strip of lean, strip of fat)
  • (Slab Bacon may be used if preferred)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (if desired)
  • 6 small Ham Hocks or one smoked Pork Butt
  • 2 onions diced
  • 1/4 green (bell) pepper
  • 5 tiny or 2 medium dried peppers
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • Salt to taste


Wash beans thoroughly, then soak over night in cold water. Be sure to cover beans. To cook, pour water off beans, add fresh water to cover. Add salt pork or bacon, let come to a boil over full flame in covered pot. Turn flame down to slightly higher than low and let cook one and one-half hours. Add diced onions, bell pepper, garlic, dried peppers and salt. Cook three hours. Add tomato sauce, cook one and one-half hours more, adding water whenever necessary. Beans and met should always be just covered with water (juice), never dry. This serves 6 or more persons…..

To prepare with Ham Hocks or Pork Butts….. Wash meat, add water to cover and let come to a boil in covered pot over medium flame. Cook one and one-half hours. Then add beans (pour water off), add rest of ingredients to meat. Cook four and one-half hours. Add water when necessary.


For non pork eaters, chicken fat may be used instead of salt pork. Corned beef or beef tongue may be used instead of ham hocks or butts.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • One pot with cover

Wash rice thoroughly, have water and salt come to a boil. Add rice to boiling water. Cook until rice swells and water is almost evaporated. Cover and turn flame down low. Cook until rice is grainy. To insure grainy rice, always use one and one-half cups water to one cup of rice….. “To serve”

On dinner plate — Rice then beans, either over rice or beside rice as preferred. … Twenty minutes later — Bisma Rex and Swiss Kriss.


 “Biography of Louis Daniel Armstrong”LouisArmstrongFoundation.org. Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Accessed January 16, 2021.

 “Louis Armstrong: FAQ”Louis Armstrong House Museum. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Accessed 11 February 2021.

Goddard, Jacqui (December 15, 2012). “Louis Armstrong’s secret daughter revealed, 42 years after his death”The Daily Telegraph.

Jarenwattananon, Patrick, (August 4, 2011). “Red Beans And Ricely Yours: The Culinary Habits Of Louis Armstrong”. National Public Radio (NPR). Accessed 11 February 2021.

Marshall, Keith. (July 29, 2015), She snagged Satchmo: Peek into Louis Armstrong’s New York love nest”. Accessed 25 December 2020.

Maynard, Nora. (July 13, 2010). “Kitchen Tour: Louis Armstrong’s Cool Blue Haven Corona, Queens, NY”. Accessed 11 February 2021.

Songy, Marielle. (February 10, 2021). WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD: THE LOVE STORY OF LOUIS AND LUCILLE ARMSTRONG”. ,  Very Local New Orleans. Accessed 11 February 2021.



Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, 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!


Chicken Savoyarde


This dish of Chicken Savoyarde is an adaptation of a 200 year old recipe. Sometimes, things get lost in the translation when you go from French to English, but one thing for sure, this recipe is a simple peasant dish that has been elevated to most elegant and sophisticated dinning experience.


Jump to the Recipe

The Alps are emblematic, mountains as metaphor. They’re imposing, romantic, operatic—inspiring us to poetry and to heroic deeds , whether fearlessly scaling their faces or just schussing in mild terror down the intermediate ski run. They are also famous for their food, promising to nourish us with honest, robust fare once we’ve conquered the slopes in one direction or the other (or even just thought about doing so). This is especially true, not surprisingly, on the French side of the Alps.

A hugely varied terrain, much of the Savoie is covered by high-altitude mountain plateaux,  steep gradients, deep river valleys, farmland and lakes, plus of course huge swathes of the land are covered in snow for half the year, so the people who historically lived and travelled here were very hardy folk.

They are also famous for their food, promising to nourish us with honest, robust fare once we’ve conquered the slopes in one direction or the other (or even just thought about doing so). This is especially true, not surprisingly, on the French side of the Alps.

The region of Savoie, divided into the departements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie, lies at the heart of the French Alps—the remnants of a kingdom that ruled much of this part of Europe for eight centuries, until the mid-1800s—and it is here that French mountain cooking thrives most vigorously. The raw materials are rich and varied—cheese(Beaufort, Tome and of course Reblochon) and other dairy products; apples, pears, plums, and cherries; mountain berries and wild mushrooms; wild game; fresh fish from local lakes—not just trout but perch, pike, and the sublime omble-chevalier. Fondue Savoyarde is the region’s most famous dish, but hearty soups and stews (among them the famous Potee), civets of game, potato dishes, and glorious fruit tarts all appear on the Savoyard table as well.

If you are a fan of winter sports, take note that The Savoie is home to many of France’s most fashionable ski resorts—Chamonix, Courchevel, and Val d’Isere among them—and these, of course, imply elaborate resort hotels: mountain palaces with serious dining rooms serving dishes that may or may not owe anything to their surroundings. But basic country cooking has survived as well in the Savoie, both in homes and in restaurants, and there are even signs today that the ski culture is beginning a romance with the region’s traditional gastronomy.

For nearly 200 years, in the autumn, the men of the village descended to larger towns to find work for the winter. The women and children stayed behind, often living with the livestock to keep warm. In spring, the men returned, rushing back to plant their crops and lead their animals into summer pastures. Summer was the time to harvest wild herbs to dry for the winter menu. Before the men left the village again, pigs were slaughtered, and hams and sausages were made. In the communal oven, loaves of rye bread were baked, to be stored for months on wicker racks. (Before serving, they were softened in a damp towel. Otherwise, they’d have been rock-hard.) With chestnuts and polenta, these were the staples of the winter diet.

During the long months of winter, the people of Chamonix also depended on a diet of potatoes, cheese, onions, and pork products. Today, these same ingredients are still basic to the local cuisine. One of the most popular offerings is an ancient specialty called reblochonnade (also known as tartiflette), a sturdy cousin of the classic gratin savoyard. The dish is made of thinly sliced potatoes sauteed with bacon and onions, moistened with cream, then baked in the oven. Finally, generous slices of creamy reblochon (a cow’s-milk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie) are melted on top. The dish feels hearty enough to insulate against the most bracing winter winds, all the way till spring. Local children still made their way to school through the snow in hobnailed wood-soled shoes. For lunch, they carried simple meals of potato fritters and cafe au lait, to be reheated over the school’s wood stove.

That was life—and food—here before skiing. Things began to change in 1878, when a Savoyard named Henri Duhamel bought some narrow wooden planks from Scandinavia at the Paris Exposition and introduced them to the Alps. “The use of skis permits a skilled Alpine peasant to go easily from one point to another,” explained an article in La Croix de Savoie in 1908.

By the 1930s, Val d’Isere had started to become a center for winter sports enthusiasts. One of the first hotels in town to earn a reputation beyond the Alps was Hotel Le Solaise, opened in December 1938 by Noel and Palmyre Machet. :The grocer in Tignes delivered provisions for the whole winter all at once,” Palmyre remembered. “We served Savoie ham, trout, and game. In those days, you had to have a passion for the mountains to come to Val d’Isere. There were no lifts to get you up the slopes. You had to be dragged on sealskins by mules. Everyone carried spools of red wool to unwind for marking spots susceptible to avalanche.

Original vintage skiing poster by Paul Ordner (1900-1969) featuring a dynamic image of a skier carving through the turns of a slalom race on a mountain piste. Mont Revard is a mountain in the Bauges mountain range in Savoie, France, home to the Le Revard ski resort, also used as a finishing stage of the Tour de France. Mont Revard a 1550m – Ecole de Ski / Ski School – PLM (French railway line).

Today, skiing in Val d’Isere is a high-tech pursuit, but at the table, time-honored specialties of the region are very much in evidence—crozets (small cubes of buckwheat pasta), diots (local sausages, usually braised in white wine), polenta, and Potee. The Hotel Le Solaise is gone, but at the restaurant that bears its name, Laurent Caffot, the Machets’ grandson, prepares exquisite frogs’ legs and omble-chevalier. He turns plebeian snails into a light and elegant fricassee. And he is not afraid to marry foie gras with polenta, one of the simple foods of yesteryear. The roots of the village still run deep.

Still, local residents don’t forget their history: Charlemagne waged battles here against the Lombard armies; pilgrims and merchants passed through, traveling between France and Italy. The ascent from Piedmont was long and steep. On the French side, the slope was milder. Travelers made their descent in sledges made of bound branches, which moved fast but were short on comfort. Happily, at the end of the journey there were inns and taverns.

Chicken Savoyarde

The Savoy region of France borders on Switzerland and Italy and is jagged with the French Alps. It is well known for its wines, cheeses and Savoyarde cuisine, that is rich with cream and delicate cheese sauces. This recipe for Chicken Savoyarde is typical of that style of cooking, featuring sautéed chicken breasts that are cooked in a white wine and served with artichokes and a smooth velouté enriched with cream and Gruyere cheese. Broiled until bubbly and golden brown, this dish is a perfect entrée for a Sunday Dinner. The boneless chicken and artichoke bottoms, baked in a white wine sauce.  It can be prepared ahead and baked at the last minutes.  Very little work for gourmet main course.   You can serve this dish with a green salad, asparagus and mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

Serves 6 to 8

For the Chicken:
4 whole chicken breasts, 1 1/2 pound each, boned, skinned, and split
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt, to taste
a dash of ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
½ tablespoon Clovis Tarragon Dijon Mustard™ (See Cook’s Notes)

One 14-ounce can of artichoke bottoms(See Cook’s Notes)
6 thin slices of Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Pat the chicken breasts dry with clean paper towels. Add the flour to a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  In a large heavy skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add onion, tarragon and them. Sauté onion until tender and translucent.

Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. To the onion mixture in the skillet, add the chicken breasts, four pieces at a time, arrange then in a single layer. Sauté the chicken breasts for 15 minutes, turning once with tongs. Remove the chicken from the skillet; add the remaining uncooked chicken breasts and repeat the cooking process. Return all the chicken to the skillet.

To the sautéed chicken breasts in the skillet, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper and 1/2 cup dry white wine; mix well. Cover and simmer the chicken over low heat for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

To Make the Sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook gently for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and gradually stir in the stock and wine. Finally, add the cream, tarragon and a little salt and pepper to taste. Return to the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir in the cheese and the mustard. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use in a chicken gratin as directed below.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, gently warm the artichokes and drain.

Arrange the chicken breasts  in a shallow heat proof baking dish, preferably glass. Arrange the artichokes around the chicken. Spoon the sauce all over the chicken and artichokes. Lay a slice of Swiss cheese on top of each chicken breast. Sprinkle with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Place the baking dish under the broiler and broil until chicken is thoroughly heated and the cheese is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve hot, family style.

Cook’s Notes:

Sauce: You can make this sauce as a stand alone accompaniment for other dishes. The sauce makes the perfect partner to Sunday’s roast chicken and can equally well be used to dress up the left-over chicken next day.

Mustard: If you cannot find  Clovis Tarragon Dijon Mustard™, feel free to use 1 tablespoon of commercially prepared mustard and 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon as reasonable substitutes.

Sour Cream: You can substitute sour cream for the heavy cream. There are variations of this recipe that do use sour cream and sometimes half & half.

Onion Mixture: In the original recipe, it appears that the onions were discarded in the presentation of the final dish. In making a kitchen sustainable, the onion and wine mixture can be pureed and frozen for future use, such as a base for a  vegetable or onion soup.

Artichokes: Canned artichoke bottoms sliced is used n this recipe. But you can also use artichoke hearts, if artichoke bottoms are not available in your local supermarket.  Also note that fresh Jerusalem artichokes, when in season, are delicious and a less expensive alternative to artichoke hearts and bottoms. To cook them, scrub the artichokes; boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain, peel and slice into rounds.

Trying Something NEW!

Recommended Products

We are starting a new feature with this blog.  We get so many questions in our emails about the products we used in our recipes as well as the styling featuring our plates and props in the photographs. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs,  we earn a very small commission from qualifying purchases to support our little blog here on wordpress.com. For a full description about the products, please click on the  highlighted links below.

Thank you for browsing and shopping!

It is greatly appreciated.

Roland Artichoke Bottoms Extra Large, Can, 13.75 oz

Clovis Tarragon Dijon Mustard,Jar,  7 oz (200 gram) 

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, 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!


The Monte Cristo

Photo Credit: Jocelyn & Cathy at FoodishFetish, 2014.


The “Monte Cristo” is thought to be a tribute to the French novel, “The Count of Monte Christo” by Alexander Dumas, and as such, the sandwich’s name suggests its French origins.

Basically, a Monte Cristo is a fried ham and cheese sandwich, which can be considered a variation of the French croque-monsieur. Recipes for the sandwich abound, with regional variations.

In the Southern United States, versions of the Monte Cristo calls for dipping it in egg and then heavy breading, like corn flakes, rice cereal or bread crumbs. The egg battered sandwich is then deep fried, resulting in an all-over very crusty exterior. ANd because everything is not for every body, as my Grand would say, most people prefer the more traditional grilled sandwich, as it is lower in fat than its deep fried versions.


Some Monte Cristo sandwiches also vary ingredients, and may include baked chicken, turkey as well as ham and Swiss, or may add several types of cheeses. Some restaurants combine the traditional triple-decker club sandwich of turkey, ham or bacon, and Swiss, dip in it egg and present this as a Monte Cristo. This is not the traditional sandwich, but many argue that it is an improvement. In some areas of the contiguous United States, it is served grilled; in other regions, it served as  an open sandwich with only the bread battered and the assembled sandwich heated slightly under a grill or broiler. A finished Monte Cristo tends to be topped with a small amount of powdered sugar and is most traditionally served with raspberry or strawberry jam. In some cases, maple syrup is served in place of the jam. Though many think the combination unusual, the flavors actually seem to work well together, accounting for its continued popularity for modern diners of today.



brown derby cookbookIn the 1930s–1960s, American cookbooks had recipes for this sandwich under such names as “French Sandwich”, “Toasted Ham Sandwich”, and “French Toasted Cheese “. The first know written recipe was found in the 1949 cookbook published by the Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Although it may be speculated that the sandwich had been previously served at several other Los Angeles restaurants, there is no definitive evidence on its precise origins or who really invented the sandwich.








Brown_Derby_on_Wilshire_entrance_1956Opened in 1926, the original restaurant at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard was the first and most famous of these distinctive eateries, shaped like a man’s derby hat, an iconic image that became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. Whimsical architecture was popular at the time, and the restaurant was designed to catch the eye of passing motorists. The Brown Derby name originated from a Malverne, New York-based restaurant of the same name that had been a popular hang-out for vaudevillians in the 1920s. The Los Angeles based resturant was founded by Wilson Mizner as a small cafe, across the street from the popular Hollywood hot spot the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel. Wilson was the front man; Herbert K. Somborn, who was a former husband of film star Gloria Swanson, owned the property and movie mogul Jack L. Warner put up the money for the initial investment of the restaurant. Wilson Mizner sat in booth 50 almost every day.

The cafe was successful enough to warrant building a second branch later. Soon after its opening, the Brown Derby chain was started by Robert H. Cobb and Herbert K. Somborn. The original, derby-shaped building was moved in 1937 to 3377 Wilshire Boulevard at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Alexandria Avenue, about a block from its previous location and directly across the street from the Ambassador Hotel.



brown derby menuOver the years, the sandwich gained great popularity in the United States in the 1960s, when the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland began serving it on a regular basis. Disneyland’s version deep fried the sandwich, which some people feel results in an overly greasy result.

In September 1980, the original Brown Derby restaurant closed without warning Local preservationists unsuccessfully tried to stop the building from being bulldozed. Unfortunately, the demolition was completed in November and replaced by a parking lot. It should be noted that a Disney-backed Brown Derby national franchising program revived the brand in the 21st century and brought the Monte Cristo sandwich back to the public.

The Monte Cristo has appeared on various menus, including the Cheesecake Factory and Denny’s. I really love this old-time classic version listed here. It is the prefect sandwich for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Traditionally served with a side of jam or jelly, to make this a savory treat you can add a dab of Dijon mustard, if you like. Although this sandwich can be quartered and deep fried separately, many of the earliest recipes like this one adapted from the Brown Derby Cookbook, calls for frying the sandwich in a skillet, much like French Toast.



Serves 2

2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
Salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, taste
5 tablespoons butter, softened
6 pieces thinly sliced white bread
4 thin slices cooked turkey
4 thin slices cooked ham
4 thin slices Swiss cheese or Gruyere Cheese
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Strawberry Jam, Raspberry Jam or Red currant jelly, for dipping


To make the egg batter, lightly beat eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For each sandwich, lightly butter 3 slices of bread on both sides. Place 2 slices of turkey and 2 of ham between 2 slices of bread. Top with 2 slices of cheese and add last slice of bread.

Trim crusts, secure with toothpicks, and cut in half on the diagonal.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Dip sandwich halves, top and bottom, in the egf batter. When butter foams, place sandwiches in skillet and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet, turn sandwiches, and fry for 2 minutes more.

Transfer to plates, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with jam or jelly.