"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Basquaise: French Fridays with Dorie

Chicken peppers Basquaise
Chicken Basquaise

When I first read through this recipe I thought, "Oh, it is a recipe for fancy sausage and peppers with chicken instead of sausage." Of course because this is a French recipe the flavors are more complex than a simple sausage and peppers meal. 

After my 9-11 fiasco I wasn't up to driving around in search of pimento d' Espelette. It does sound like an extraordinary pepper that if I come across it in a gourmet shop I will buy it, but Dorie gave me an out, and I naturally take the easiest course when it comes to cooking,... I went with chili powder.

My kids told me that if I really had my act together I should have ordered pimento d' Espelette on the internet, of course they were not taking into account that I didn't have much time to think about French Fridays because  they were off from school, because of the Jewish New Year, and I needed to entertain them over the last week.

Before I went grocery shopping I read through the recipe three times and figured out how I would simplify it. I immediately nixed peeling tomatoes in favor of buying a can of diced tomatoes. I used a 28 oz size can (the equivalent of 10 to 12 tomatoes) which made the dish more stew like than I think it was supposed to be, being Italian, I like having some sauce to dip my bread into. I also decided not to peel the peppers.


 I find the French obsession with skinning vegetables very odd and time consuming. Culturally they seem to have some strange texture issues? 

The peppers were fine au natural. Even with these short cuts it still took an hour to sauté all of the vegetables, fry the chicken, and make the wine reduction.

The result was a wonderfully warming stew of peppers, mild chilies, onions and melt in your mouth chicken. Everyone in my family loved it except my daughter who found it too spicy, but she's 10... it was a little hot for a 10 year old.


I served it over brown rice which everyone reminded me harbors arsenic... I hadn't read the paper before I made dinner...oh well, a little bit of arsenic never killed anyone?

Needless to say the Ciabatta rolls I bought were much more popular than the rice, and actually worked better for sopping up the rich wine tomato sauce, a great meal for a chilly autumn night.


This is a similar recipe: 

Chicken Basquaise



Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

 










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31 comments:

  1. This looks great Diane! I do the same thing when I look at recipes though, start trying to simplify them. Plus a good sauce is always great for dipping breads!

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  2. I think I took simplifying this dish a step further, if it makes you feel any better.

    Arsenic or not, I still love brown rice...

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  3. I didn't skin my peppers or tomatoes either. Overly nit-picky, I think. Who cares about tomato skins? I couldn't notice skins in my finished product, anyway.

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    1. Yeah another rebel. So you find the peeling thing strange too?

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  4. Dished with sauce demand a piece of bread! Looks wonderful Diane. Have a nice weekend!

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  5. I think if you had drained the can before using the tomatoes it would have come out closer. It had been a long time since I peeled tomatoes for a dish but I did it anyway...but I seem to remember using canned a lot in subs by just not including all the liquid in the can. Your chix looks delix!

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    1. But Trevor I loved the liquid.... dipping for bread, can't help it it's in my genes.

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  6. The chicken looks delicious and the picture is beautiful. Smart idea using diced tomatoes. Hope you have a great weekend:)

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  7. Going to make this for dinner- I went & bought fresh tomatoes, but I have no plans to peel them or the peppers- that's pretty much the way we roll in Texas!

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    1. Only the French would make vegetables so complicated.

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  8. I so agree with you about peeling veggies. Who the heck has the time. And arsenic? Where have I been? I've never heard that before. But my first thought is that those of us who eat brown rice will just be that much more immune to arsenic since we are always ingesting a small amount.

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    1. It was a news story a few days ago. Arsenic is naturally occurring in many foods. They recommended washing your rice to reduce the amount that is only a trace amount to begin with.

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  9. I'm glad to hear the dish was enjoyed by most. I did the same regarding canned tomatoes and skin-on peppers. But the reminder about rice...I conveniently blocked the information from memory. :)

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    1. I love that we are all confident enough cooks to do as we please.

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  10. I skinned the tomatoes, but not the peppers. I love a slow-cooked stew, whether it's from the stove-top or the oven, so I didn't mind how long this took. The results were lovely. I bet your extra broth was delicious, too.

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    1. If I used fresh tomatoes I agree there is a difference with them peeled. Yes, the extra sauce was soaked up rather quickly by my kids.

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  11. I used fresh tomatoes, but didn't peel any of the vegetables. I agree, weird French quirk to bother. You'd never know the peels were there. They completely melded into the piperade. Nice to know the canned tomatoes worked well as this would be delicious in the winter too. I used chili powder too, though tracking down the fancy pepper does sound intriguing.

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    1. Glad to know that the unpeeled tomatoes work fine too if I happen to have fresh ones on hand. Glad to hear that someone else finds the whole peeling thing strange.

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  12. Diane, sounds like a wonderful comfort-style dinner for your family. And the bread for mopping up that rich sauce was the way to go, I agree.

    Have a good weekend!

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  13. I so agree with you!! Why make it complicated? skinning peppers and tomatoes? I didn't even notice the skins. You plate looks beautiful! Have a great weekend!

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  14. I read that All rice contains arsenic. Oh well. It looks yummy! I skinned the peppers, but only because we already had the grill on and the husband could char them for me.

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    1. I know arsenic is naturally occurring. You are forgiven for going French on the peppers. I actually like the taste of the skin of charred peppers.

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  15. I like that you served it over brown rice - it adds another dimension of texture & flavor. I actually enjoyed the peeled vegetables but charred my chiles under the broiler before I peeled them which made it really easy to do. There is no way I would spend time peeling peppers with a potato peeler - I thought that was an odd suggestion.

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    1. Yes, the brown rice added a nuttiness it really worked well. I am going to remember your broiler idea for when I puree peppers. thanks for the tip.

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  16. I loved this one too! :) We didnt bother peeling any of the vegetables and honestly, no one noticed! :) Another great one to be made again soon!

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  17. I think I read right past the instruction to peel the tomatoes. Vegetable skins definitely don't bother me. Do you think arsenic in rice is something to worry about? I've been trying to ignore it.

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    1. What I've read so far it is naturally occurring, but you should rise your rice. There is an article today on my food party posts that I haven't read yet.

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