Faisan à la Normande

Faisan à la Normande
(Normandy Pheasant)

Normandy is famous for its dairy farms and apple orchards. This dish, made with  apple, cider, Calvados, butter, and cream, makes the most of the region’s produce.

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Poulet à la moutarde de Dijon (Chicken Dijon)

Mustard has the ability to make bland dishes more interesting and it can be used with all types of meats, poultry and seafood. Dishes prepared with Dijon mustard are usually called “à la dijonnaise” and there is a reason for that, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Mustard is an ancient spice — one of the world’s most popular seasonings. The Chinese have grown mustard for more than 3,000 years and the Egyptians popped the seeds into their mouths when eating meat. It was the Romans who brought the seeds to France, sprinkling them along the roads where the plants flourished.

At first, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. In the 6th century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras applied mustard to relieve scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines.

Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France and without a doubt, the mustard capital of the world. It was not until the 14th century that this condiment was officially called “mustard”. In 1382 the French Duke of Burgundy granted a coat of arms to the city of Dijon bearing the motto “Moult Me Tarde” -meaning “much awaits me”. And by this time, dijon gained its reputation as the home of the master mustard makers in Dijon mustard was considered the condiment of the kings. In 1777 the Dijon mustard firm was founded when Monsieur Grey developed a secret recipe for strong mustard made with white wine. When he formed a partnership with financier Monsieur Poupon — voilà! — Grey Poupon mustard was born! Today at 32 rue de la Liberté in Dijon, one can visit the Grey Poupon building.

The chicken drumstick is a favorite among home cooks, mainly  because it’s juicy and easy to brown.You can also use chicken thighs,  to make this delicious mustard flavored stew—thickened with tangy crème fraîche—so that all the meat cooks at the same rate.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 medium chicken drumsticks
4 medium chicken thighs
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely shallots (or onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (or low sodium chicken broth)
1 Tablespoon whole-grain  Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
Crusty bread, for serving

 

Directions:

In a large skillet,  heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the butter to the skillet. Season the chicken drumsticks and thighs with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the skillet by adding the wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the crème fraîche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the sauce and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. To serve family style,  place the drumsticks and thighs on a large platter and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the fresh tarragon. Serve with a good crusty, rustic bread.

Et voilà!

Cook’s Notes:

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Petite Pommes Anna

Adapted from Molly Stevens
From BON APPÉTIT,  November 2012
Mini Herbed Pommes Anna recipe

This side dish is a very simple deconstruction of that classic  French casserole potato dish, Pommes Anna, consisting of  of thinly sliced potatoes that are layered and cooked in a generous amount of melted butter. This version is  presented as a single-serve dish with the classic French  attitude.The more carefully you arrange the potato slices, the prettier the results and the better the individual-size cakes will hold together.

They are perfect side dish to go along with baked chicken or even a slab of braised short ribs and they will be sure to impress your guests at the dinner table.

Enjoy!

  
Serves   12
Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter
12-24 small tender fresh  thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, each slightly larger than a golf ball
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment:
A standard 12-cup muffin pan
A mandoline
Parchment paper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush muffin cups all over with butter. Line bottoms with parchment-paper rounds. Arrange 1-2 small thyme sprigs in center of each round. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup.Add chopped thyme and garlic to remaining butter in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.Using mandoline, slice potatoes crosswise into very thin rounds (less than 1/16″ thick), placing them in a large bowl as you work. Pour herb butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.Divide potato slices among muffin cups, layering overlapping slices to create a circular pattern. Lightly press center of each to make compact. Drizzle any remaining butter and seasoning from bowl over.

Cover muffin pan tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 35 minutes. Remove foil; invert a rimmed baking sheet over pan. Turn, lightly tapping on counter, releasing potatoes onto sheet. Rearrange any slices that may have fallen out. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing down. Discard parchment. DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Increase heat to 425°F. Uncover cakes if needed. Bake until bottoms and edges are golden and crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing up. Serve immediately