You can imagine the scene. You might even have been there. The tiny bistro, hidden in an alley in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sophisticates mingling with artistes. You watch and listen … intoxicated by the food, mellowed by the wine, enraptured in the moment.
Paris will do that to you, especially in April. Most everything about it captures our imagination. Even the drizzling rain. But it’s the food … the food that makes our hearts sing.
More than 50 years after Julia Child introduced us to what she considered “one of the world’s great arts,” we still are discovering the epic riches of the ever-evolving French table. French chefs still rely on seasonal ingredients and traditional techniques, yet they’re apt to put them together in more inventive ways.
This recipe for Chicken Fricassée from Food & Wine is a lighter take on this classic dish, using low-fat sour cream and Greek yogurt in lieu of heavy cream. It’s perfect for the cool nights of spring, when you want something warm yet light and flavorful.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup celery leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on a rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until cooked through and the skin is crisp.
- Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream and yogurt. Discard the bay leaves.
- Add the chicken to the sauce, skin side up, and simmer until heated through. Stir in the celery leaves. Transfer the chicken to plates, spoon the sauce on top. Garnish with celery leaves and serve with rice pilaf.
With the food comes the wine.
French wine has such history, such variety. There’s so much to explore. For this, we recommend the 2010 Meridion Côtes-du-Rhône, part of the Frontgate Wine Club’s “Great Wines of France” collection. In this handpicked assortment, you get to explore of some of the country’s most iconic boutique wines. Not quite like being there, but perhaps the next best thing.
French food and wine. It’s as much a way of life as it is a cuisine. And because of it, the world is a more delicious place. Bon Appétit!