#2. Poulet de Bresse Farçi aux Asperges & Chocolate Pots with Cherries
Am back… catching up with our Cooking Mama schedule, after freezing my bum in Edmonton and Banff (more on that on my regular post soon!). We’re doing “double-time” to catch up with our promised two cook-outs per month. Et voila! 🙂 This is April’s second dish which quite happily allowed me to don one of my acquisitions during my recent trip to Canada. Hubby had a cute smirk on his face when he saw me wearing this! 🙂
Cherie chose these two recipes: for main course, a classic adaptation of an Alain Chapel dish: Stuffed Bresse Chicken with Asparagus. Alain Chapel was a 3-star Michelin Chef from Lyon — known to be one of the first proponents of “nouvelle cuisine.” Bresse Chickens are a breed of chickens that originate from … well, you guessed it…. the Bresse area, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. They are highly valued (literally!) for their flavor, fine tender flesh, and clean-flowing fat. Those that make it to AOC status (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) denotes that the chickens have been strictly controlled in terms of diet and slaughter time in specific regional farms. You can be sure that they have spent their last few days confined in an epinette, a building traditionally used to force-feed them with grain mash and milk. No wonder they fetch such a steep price at EU16 per kilo!
I was quite worried that I would have to see the chicken with its red crown, feathers, neck and feet — all decked out — as they do with some other species in the markets. (Did you know that the French actually sell their chickens this way because they seriously think it’s really pretty?) I don’t agree with them of course… because I don’t fancy plucking feathers out, nor do I care about learning how to carve out that pretty little red crown of theirs!?!!
This meal was quite easy — and for me, the reduced Madeira sauce made more of a … uhmmm… swashbuckling (I love that word!) difference than the chicken itself. I’m sorry, but … this chicken tasted almost like any other chicken I’ve tasted. So I’m not quite sure it justifies the steep price. One day, I’d like to try this out with an ordinary chicken — and I am pretty sure, no one would be able to tell the difference!
Here’s my chicken after being roasted, and being subjected to yet another one of my Canadian acquisitions: a US$10 smart meat thermometer. (Can you tell that someone is a bit of a gadget freak here?)
The vegetables in the creamy sauce (also Madeira-based) as a side dish (a second service to the veggies stuffed into the chicken) was out of the ordinary. A welcome number to your usual buttered vegetable side-dish, and definitely the perfect combination to the roasted chicken. Unfortunately, I missed out on the intention that the asparagus be used as a garnish — so in they went with the rest of the veggies! (Moral of the story: Read the recipe in all its fine-print glory before starting!)
Try it for yourselves and tell me what you think. Poulet de Bresse ou non? You can find the recipe here.
As for the dessert — it did get wiped out. Which probably means it was good! 🙂 I could only have a teaspoon of it though, because I didn’t want to ruin my diet (now on the Dukan Diet… with much success, if I may add)! Definitely a recipe to use when you have little time to prepare on the day of your event! You can make the chocolate pots the day before since they will benefit from the overnight refrigeration. (If I would do this again, I would lessen the sugar though — because it was a tad bit too sweet for me!)
Recipe for Chocolate Pots with Cherries was taken from the book of Jennifer Joyce, “Meals in Heels.”
I wasn’t in my high-heels while preparing this dessert, but I very well could have been! 🙂