Saturday, April 17, 2010

Heaven on a Fork

In case you're wondering, yes, I did just have one of the most amazing meals of my life. And in case you hadn't heard, Julia Child is a genius, a God-send, an angel, and my new hero.

Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence and Pommes de Terre Sauté
(Chicken Sautéed with Herbs and Sauteed Potatoes)
Adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

So, here's what you need:
A large skillet
A medium-large bowl
A whisk
Half a stick of butter
Thin-sliced chicken breasts, dried with a paper towel
One teaspoon thyme
One teaspoon basil (I used dried herbs, and totally forgot to add the basil--just thyme for me!)
Salt & pepper
Three cloves minced garlic
Half a cup of chicken broth
Two egg yolks
One tablespoon lemon juice
One tablespoon chicken broth

Another large skillet with a lid
One potato (Yukon Gold is my preferred variety)
Two tablespoons butter
One tablespoon olive oil

*Note: this is an adaptation of the original recipe. If you want the real directions, go get yourself a copy of the book. The recipes are on pages 257 and 527. =)

So, dry your chicken in paper towels, and peel and slice your potato. The slices should be less than half an inch thick. I used my mandoline to get them 3/8 thick, and I think I should have gone with 1/4 inch thick. While you're at it, pat the potato dry with a paper towel.

In your skillet, melt half a stick of butter over medium heat. When it starts foaming, add the chicken. Do not let it brown! Turn the chicken constantly for about 5 minutes, until it's cooked on the outside, but no deeper in color than yellow. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for about 7 more minutes, turning occasionally, until done. Remove to a warm platter and keep warm in the oven (at 200F) until ready to serve.

In your other skillet, melt the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the potato slices in a single layer, browning each side about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender, shaking the pan occasionally so the potatoes don't stick.

While the potatoes are working, make the sauce. In your chicken skillet, add three cloves of minced garlic and half a cup of chicken broth. Boil down by half.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and creamy. Add in the lemon juice and remaining broth, and whisk till foamy. Whisk in the hot chicken broth (from the skillet) verrrrrrrry slooooooowly. Seriously. Add about a tablespoon at a time, otherwise you'll cook the eggs too fast and the sauce will be less a sauce and more a bowl of scrambled eggs.

Pour the sauce back into the pan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly for a minute or two. Turn the heat off, add the chicken back into the pan, turn to coat, and serve.

I was ambivalent about the potatoes (but I'm ambivalent about potatoes anyway, unless they're really exceptional), but the sauce? Ohhhhh, the sauce. Rich. Creamy. Warm. Tasted like cheese. I'm a happy girl. It was so good that I ate all the leftover sauce on toast. Holy yum, Batman.

Julia Child, I know you're dead, but will you marry me, please, and come make this sauce for me every dang day?

Takes about forty minutes, although if you're not making potatoes with it, it could probably go a little quicker.
Feeds four.
Difficulty: 3.

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