Saturday, September 7, 2013

Poulet avec Herbes de Provance (or "How I Made a Chicken French")


Chicken with Herbes de ProvanceGoing to Wayfare Tavern last week inspired me to write about my adventures in creating Chicken with Herbes de Provance. I first encountered Herbes de Provance in reading a magazine article, probably from Food Network or Bon Appetit (most likely the latter).

For those who are not familiar with Herbes de Provance, this is a combination of dried herbs typical of Provence, France. These mixtures typically contain savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and, lavender leaves, and other herbs, although lavender was not used in traditional southern French cooking (From Wikipedia).


Herbes de ProvanceI have not used Herbes de Provance before so I looked for the easiest recipe possible. Somehow I ran into using it while roasting chicken. This was super easy, so I thought this would be a great place to start.

I actually combined a number of recipes that I found on the web: from Williams-Sonoma to Bon Appetit to Epicurious. Some used olive oil, but I figured, it would not be French if I did not use butter. As a compromise, I used half and half.

My final recipe is below. I am very interested to see what you think.

Chicken with Herbes de Provance
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 quarter chickens (thighs and leg)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1  Tbsp of butter, plus more veggies
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 cup of potatoes, sliced (depending on how big your pan is)
  • 1-1/2 cup of carrots, sliced (same comment as above)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • Lemon slices, for serving

Directions:

1.     Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
2.     Rub the chicken with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then rub on both sides with the herbes de Provence.
3.     In an ovenproof pan roaster or a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp of Butter. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the pan and sear until browned and crisp. Flip the chicken to the other side and slightly sear. Place all the chicken, skin side up, in an oven proof pan.
4.     Add potatoes, carrots, and garlic to the pan and pour the oil from the previous pan on the chicken. Add butter and more herbs on the vegetables, if desired.
5.     Put the chicken in the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken, away from the bone, registers 160ºF.
6.     Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Leave the chicken whole or cut into slices, if desired. Serve immediately.


Verdict

Chicken with Herbes de Provance - Serving
The result was a delicious dish and will definitely put it in our household rotation, especially when the weather gets colder. Per Bon Appetit, the chicken can be made 2 days ahead, Let cool. Cover and chill; bring to room temperature before serving. So leftovers would be great, although it did not last long enough for me to test that theory.

When I do this again, I would try to use an oven proof pan to minimize cleaning. If I were brave enough to use my cast-iron pan, I would use that instead.

Chicken with Herbes de Provance - Baking
I also read that you can use Herbes de Provance mixture for practically anything: fish, meats, and even vinaigrette. I think that would be a great use of the leftover spices.

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