One of my very very favourite books for French food inspiration is the wonderfully illustrated The Food of France – a journey for food lovers published by Murdoch books. To partner the delicious recipes throughout the book has special sections explore the essence of French Food and drink. This is ideal for a huge lover of all things French such as myself. The pages themselves are almost edible!
Yesterday lunchtime I decided to cook a chicken Basque style and to create Boulangère Potatoes as a simple side compliment. The whole chicken was portioned by myself and mostly de-boned. The only bones left were those on the drumsticks and the wings. Why are chicken wings so yummy? Anyway, I gave the prepared fresh chicken pieces a rough coating of paprika (not too much or it is over powering with the pimento) and slowly cooked the portions for eighty minutes in an oven gas mark five. I also added a generous amount of chunky sliced piquant chorizo tossed over the chicken pre-oven. The two spicy flavours of Spain and Southern France suffused the chicken throughout the cooking leaving a rich red flavoursome juice in which to baste the cooking chicken even further. I added a little lemon and lime juice for extra wetness and flavour towards the end of the cooking. It was purely an intuitive addition but seemed to do the trick.
For the Boulangère Potatoes I thinly sliced three big waxy potatoes and one sweet potato just for a hit of sweetness. As in the Boulangère Potatoes recipe in The Food of France book I pre-heated the oven (350ºF/Gas 4) and thinly sliced the raw potatoes and an onion with a sharp knife. I layered the potatoes and onion with parsley black pepper and salt between each layer. Chicken stock was poured over the potatoes and onion and dotted with unsalted butter. It took about an hour to cook including a pressing down half way through the cooking process.
The two worked deliciously together and for a few moments I could have been in the south of France. Now to open a bottle of French wine and back to my favourite book. Ooh la la! If you want to enjoy a copy of this most splendid book see the link at the top of this blog post. Sexy ripe tomatoes not included!