When I lived in the suburbs of Boston, I had joined a group called Slow Food. There are many chapters of this organization throughout the US and the world, and in Mass, there are at least 2 chapters that I know about. Slow Food is really a great group that focuses on "good, clean and fair food." They really are near in dear to my heart because I feel the same way.
Upon moving to Boston, I switched Slow Food chapters, and became involved with Slow Food Boston. This group is much more active due to a larger number of members and resources. Recently, one activity that I participated in was a potluck paired with a book club. We all were to read Fannie's Last Supper, by Chris Kimball. Chris happens to be well known for his magazine's, Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country. The book focused on Chris' desire to recreate a holiday meal of the Victorian era with all Fannie Farmer Recipes. You can read about my review of the book on the Edible South Shore Magazine website later this week.
We were to provide a dish for the potluck that was a recipe of the Victorian era if possible,and I was to provide an entree specifically. I scoured the Internet for Fannie Farmer recipes that did not involve oxtails and calves' brains, however, I fell short and ended up turning to my dear Julia Child cookbook. I figured she was as good a substitute as any because her recipes were referenced several times throughout Fannie's Last Supper.
I chose to make sauteed chicken, and substituted chicken thighs for a broken down chicken, due entirely to my lack of knowledge of how to break down a chicken (is there anyone that can teach me?). The recipe is pretty straight forward and involved lots of butter, but what Julia Child recipe doesn't? The chicken turned out better than I expected, as for the first time, I did not overcook it! This would make a great weeknight meal as the chicken takes roughly 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Paired with a few veggie sides, the meal would be fairly healthy too!
Julia Child's Sauteed Chicken
2 1/2 to 3 pound frying chicken parts or chicken thighs
2 to 3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil,
or 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A big pinch of tarragon or thyme, optional
Optional deglazing sauce
1 tablespoon minced shallots or scallions
1/2 cup chicken stock (see Special Note)
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry
white French vermouth
Browning the chicken – about 5 minutes. Be sure the chicken is well dried or it will not brown properly. Set the frying pan over moderately high heat; add the oil and/or butter. When it is very hot but not smoking, lay in the chicken pieces skin side down. Turn the chicken after 3 minutes or so, allowing it
to color a fairly even walnut brown on all sides.
Finishing the cooking. Cover the pan, lower the meat to moderate. Baste the chicken pieces with the accumulated fat and juices in the pan; season the chicken lightly with salt, pepper, and optional herbs. Cover the
pan again and cook another 6 minutes. Turn the chicken, baste again, and continue cooking 7 to 8 minutes more, basting once again.
The chicken is done when the thickest parts of the drumsticks and thighs are tender when pressed, and when the juices of any piece of chicken pricked with a fork run clear yellow with no trace of pink –it should still be juicy.
Deglazing sauce – 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to hot plates or a platter. Rapidly spoon all but a tablespoon of fat out of the sauté pan.
Stir in the tablespoon of minced shallots or scallions and cook for a few seconds over high heat, stirring. Pour in the 1/2 cup of chicken stock and 1/2 cup
of wine, and boil, scraping up coagulated juices from the bottom of the pan; continue boiling and swirling the pan for a moment until the liquid has boiled down to about a 1/2 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the chicken, strew on the optional herbs, and serve as soon as possible.