“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces”
George Santayana, Philosopher, 1863 -1952
Julia, my sister-in-law, was the person to suggest that we all go on a family holiday, which was in 2005, within the pretty village of Cognac, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, south-western France. The converted farm was presented immaculately; designed as a nobleman’s home. The children were all under five and had plenty of grounds to run around in and to play hide and seek. However, we also learnt our first big lesson. Supervise. It was only after three days that we found they had managed to pick off the wallpaper in a bathroom and had drawn a mural on the wall with crayons! Sacré bleu!
Here is a recipe you can use to create your own centre-of-the-table masterpiece.
1.4kg (3lbs) chicken, drumsticks and thighs * 1 tbsp olive oil * 55g (2oz) butter * 2 shallots, finely chopped * 115g (4oz) button mushrooms, sliced * 1 tbsp plain flour * 125ml (4 floz) white wine * 2 tbsp Cognac brandy * 2 tsp tomato purée * 250ml (8 floz) chicken stock * 2 tsp tarragon, chopped * salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add half of the butter until foaming. Add the chicken and sauté in batches on both sides until browned. Lift out onto a plate and keep warm. Pour the excess fat out of the pan.Melt the remaining butter in the pan, add the shallots and cook gently until softened, but not browned. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered, over a moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Stir in the white wine, Cognac, tomato purée and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and add the tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.
Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Add extra water at your discretion to keep moist and creamy whilst cooking. Serve.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE FRENCH COLLECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.
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