Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So Good, There Must Be A Name For It In French



Sometimes when I hit upon a great new dish, I think "I've done it!" Other times I think "This is so good, the French must have already done it." The chicken leg pictured above fell into the latter category.

I usually buy chicken whole, but sometimes I want less than a whole chicken in less than the time it takes to cook a whole chicken. When this happens, I carve off a raw hunk of bird to cook immediately, and later, when I roast the rest of it, it appears as though there has been some sort of accident.

This time, I sawed off a drumstick, which I browned in olive oil. I then added about a cup of stock, several whole peppercorns, and sliced garlic. I covered and simmered, and once the meat was tender, I reduced the remaining liquid and poured it on top of the leg.

The meat had that supple moisture that only cooking in liquid can provide and the stock cooked down to a thick, chickeny sauce made all the more flavorful by the browning. And while cooking with stock might sound a little involved, the whole thing took about twenty minutes, also known as the time it took to chop and steam a few sweet potatoes (see background of photo). That and the leg was lunch.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to cook chicken like so, but I'm as excited about the dish as though I were.

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Recipe: Hasty, Seemingly French Chicken

1 drumstick or thigh per person
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp whole peppercorns
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste
olive oil

1. Brown the chicken in the olive oil.

2. Add the stock, garlic, and peppercorns.

3. Cover, simmer until tender (about 15 minutes).

4. Remove the chicken and reduce the remaining liquid to the consistency of maple syrup.

5. Pour the sauce over the meat and garnish with the peppercorns and garlic. Serve alongside steamed sweet potatoes.

6. Exclaim in delight using whatever French you know.

7. Explain to your girlfriend why the raw chicken in the fridge is missing a piece.

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