Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Making chicken Basquaise... and basking in the present

Exploring and learning all about the blogging world and twitter and Instagram and “unique” visitors (aren't we all?)… I find myself in the ironic predicament of being tempted to be “swallowed up” by all of it and miss those “being in the moment” moments that make life – and food, and motherhood – worthwhile. Inspired by this amazing post on Vanilla Bean (which I found on Twitter, via another blog…), I am determined to set limits in my life so that I can prove to myself I can do both.

But fellow bloggers out there, I ask you: how do we live in the moment, enjoy it, and record it for posterity too? How do you manage it?




This brings me to the recipe I wanted to post today, Chicken basquaise. We made it last week and it gave us a perfectly happy-in-the-moment evening for which I am so thankful.

This is my mother’s way of doing it, which might differ from the traditional recipes.  I love that about my mother’s cooking. She cooks from the gut. She knows, she estimates, she tastes, she smells. She cooks organically. I try to follow in her footsteps with some things I cook, but I often find myself laboring over recipes and following instructions… I feel like a dutiful student of cooking. She has true wisdom in her cooking. I admire that.



























This is in honor of a wonderful meal shared with my mother and our dear friend Dominique (and her puppies). Summer night. Eating outside. My mother cooking. Me photographing. Pablo tasting and loving the cooked garlic most of all. Dogs licking. In the moment living… Cheers to that.





Chicken Basquaise


Recipe by my mom Daniele Rimbault



Age: 10-12 months, because it has a lot of different ingredients.
This can be mixed together in a food processor for a younger baby still eating purees, or just cut-up for an older toddler.


Health benefits: It’s basically chicken simmered with lots of vegetables… Need I say more?


Note: This is one of those dishes even better the next day, when the ingredients have had time to soak up all the flavors.  Ironically, it’s also a dish that rarely produces leftovers. It’s that good!


(Serves about 4 people)

1 whole chicken (cut up in large pieces. Time saving tip: either buy already cut or ask your butcher to do it for you)

4 tomatoes, peeled (after plunging them whole in boiling water for 30 seconds)

2 sliced bell peppers (red and green, or other colors)

4 sliced zucchinis (peeled only in strips)

1 peeled, sliced eggplant

2 sliced red onions

12 garlic cloves (6 peeled, 6 “en chemise”, with the film left on)

A few sprigs of Italian Parlsey

A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

3 Laurel leaves

Salt & pepper

Piment d’Espelette (optional - powder made from a variety of chili peppers cultivated in the town of Espelette in the Basque country. You may find it in specialty stores, or in France!)

Olive oil



In a Dutch oven, sauté and brown the chicken pieces on all sides (in batches if needed) with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 6 peeled whole garlic cloves.

Put one layer of chicken, add one layer of sliced onions, add another layer of chicken on top.

Add the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, then the quartered tomatoes, the six remaining garlic cloves “en chemise” (literal translation: “in their shirt”, meaning you leave the film on).

Make a bouquet garni by tying together the parsley, thyme and laurel leaves. Add it on top.

Add salt & pepper, and a pinch of Piment d’Espelette.

Add half a glass of water, cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the bouquet guarni and serve with some cooking juice over the vegetables and meat.

Leftover tip:
If you have vegetables left-over (a big IF, we had none this time): A great way to make them, for baby or grownups, is to reheat them in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil, and scramble some eggs together with the vegetables. It’s called a “Chouchouka”. Delicious, and fun to say! J

PS: Adding "chicken" to the food sign list, check it out!


Loving the idea of cooking for a good cause, thanks to Vanesther at Bangers & Mash, I have learned about a wonderful adoption and fostering charity called TACT.

Entering this recipe in the Care to Cook Recipe Challenge, as this is definitely a meal we would serve to welcome someone into our home.

For details on the Care to Cook challenge, go to: http://bangermashchat.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/care-to-cook-challenge/

and details on TACT here: http://www.tactcare.org.uk/pages/en/buy_tact_adoptions_care_to_cook_recipe_book.html






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5 comments:

  1. This looks a lovely dish and I know my own family would love it if I cooked it for them. Thanks so much for entering this into TACT's Care to Cook family recipe challenge. It's absolutely perfect for the family theme.

    And I've found since blogging, tweeting and photographing my world, I think it has helped me to live more in the moment, to notice the minutae and detail of life around me. But saying that, it's also important to recognise when to disconnect from the technology in order to properly reconnect with people, and to notice things just for the sake of noticing and not simply to report them back - does that make sense?!

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  2. We tried this tonight. As you mention it's even better the next day, I made it yesterday! It's absolutely wonderful! I used coconut oil instead of olive oil and the slight taste of coconut was really nice! The chicken was tender and the veg a bit mushy (I might have overcooked it a bit, I'm not used to using my cocotte much) but I thought it was best for the children as they can be a bit fussy with courgettes (I forgot the eggplant)... well, they still moaned about the courgettes (honestly, after the smoked salmon rolls, I thought they'd be eating it without a pip!) but they ate it all after the number of obligatory bites (according to their age!).
    We, adults, loved it! Thanks again for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. This is my mom's recipe, she'll be thrilled to hear this! :-) GREAT idea to do it with coconut oil, I will definitely do that next time, thanks so much!!

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  3. This is my ratatouille with a chicken added So I already know how delicious it is. ) . Although for the ratatouille each vegetable is sauteed in olive oil separately and then all thrown back in the pot, so you get the grilled vegetable flavor. I've got a chicken in my freezer! But not for long. Thanks.

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  4. Making this now and it smells amazing!

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