21 May 2015

Poulet à l'ail

I got some bad news from North Carolina yesterday. It has to do with the health of a relative (but not my mother or sister). I won't go into detail. I'm waiting for more news. Nothing has yet arrived by e-mail. For the time being, I'm going to assume that no news is good news. This morning I've just been sitting here for more than an hour looking through all the photos I've taken recently and wondering what I have to write a blog post about. Enough with the flowers. Enough with the vineyard scenes. Enough with the Callie photos.

So here's a food report. Last Saturday morning, Walt went to the outdoor market on the main square in Saint-Aignan to get some local asparagus and strawberries, which are in season right now. I asked him to buy a chicken from our favorite poultry vendor. I had picked up a package of 6 heads of garlic a week earlier, and some of it needed to be used. We also have a lot of sage growing in the garden now. And there was a bag of red potatoes down in the cellar. All that sounded like the makings for a good Sunday dinner.
Before he left to do the shopping, Walt asked me what size chicken he should buy. I said, off the top of my head, oh, not a huge one — maybe a kilo and a half. That's what he asked for chez le volailler. The woman waiting on him laughed and said: « Mais monsieur, ça n'existe pas ! » It seems the minimum weight for one of their birds is two kilos. Walt said he felt like the laughingstock of Saint-Aignan.

Who knew? At the supermarket I often get 1.5 kg chickens. At the market, when you buy a chicken you buy it with the feet and head still on, and the guts giblets still inside. You pay for it, they hand you a ticket, and you either stand and wait or go off and do other shopping. Twenty minutes or more later you go back and claim your purchase, which has been beheaded, befooted (?), and gutted. The heart, liver, and gizzard are stuffed inside the bird, and you can claim the head and the feet if you want them.

 The man who prepares the poultry also singes off any stray feathers using a blowtorch. Having the bird prepared that way is optional, of course. You are welcome to take it home with the feet, head, and guts giblets still attached. Remember the quails that I bought and prepared a few weeks ago? In the case of this chicken, it was so big that I decided we didn't need to cook the whole thing. Instead of cutting it in half, I decided to cut off the legs and thighs and put those in the freezer for later.
I would cook the just breast and wings as a roast, setting it on a bed of sage leaves and surrounded by about 20 unpeeled cloves of garlic. I would drizzle some olive oil over it all, pour in a little bit of rosé wine, and roast some potatoes in the same pan. After cutting off the legs and thighs, I also cut out the chicken's backbone and saved that, the neck, and the giblets for making stock later.

There's a recipe that you can find all over the internet for chicken cooked with forty cloves of garlic. My version was half a chicken cooked with twenty cloves of garlic. We enjoyed it.

By the way, I took these photos with a 10-year-old Panasonic Lumix FZ7 digital camera. We had it in storage and I decided to get it out and see what it was like and how good the photos would be. Judge for yourself.


20 comments:

chm said...

For this kind of photos, I don't see much difference between the old and the new camera.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I agree with that. The new Canon camera is much faster, however — less delay when I press the shutter button — and has a much longer zoom. It also has a bigger screen.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ7 is vintage 2005 or 2006. However, the camera I normally use in the kitchen is a Lumix ZS1 that I bought in January 2010. It's still a great camera. I'll have to use the new Canon SX700 in the kitchen some and see how the photos compare.

Andrew said...

The photos on the screen look fine. While of course all your posts are interesting, what I find most interesting is the contradictions between where you live and where I live, or even where you used to live in the US.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

I see your comment to chm, about the differences you experience using the different cameras. But, as far as results go that we can see, these are excellent, clear photos :) And, very appetizing :)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

have you ever tried the spatchcock method of cooking a bird? it's very fast and easy. the way you had the bird kind of splayed out reminded me of that. of course, i love hearing about how you get the birds still smiling. folks here would be shrieking and there would be a protest with crying young people accusing them of murder or some such. i'm wondering about the guts still inside tho - were the birds freshly..um.. dispatched? or chilled?

LaPré DelaForge said...

Ooooo! Dat boid look damned tasty!!
Roasties and garlicktoffee to go with it!
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

The 1st, 4th and 5th pix make the bird look like a spacecraft....
possibly a lander from a mothership!!?
Looks very good tho'...
Poule d'astro avec l'ail!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Here is a good video about ‘deconstructing” and then roasting a large volaille -- a chicken or a turkey -- as done by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin.

melinda said...

save the livers

Evelyn said...

I see an unpeeled onion in the last photo and I notice the garlic cloves are unpeeled also. That's my kind of cooking! I assume you peel the garlic and onion at some point. The photo quality is mouth watering!

I hope you get good news from NC.

goodfoodgreatdesign said...

Ken, very clear and just the right brightness photos. Of course now I'm hungry :) Your post made my day, it gave me quite a laugh when you stated that "Walt was now the laughingstock of St. Aignan". My husband says I do this to him all the time too. I don't mean to but it happens. I'm hoping you receive good news from North Carolina. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Kim

The Beaver said...

Bonsoir Ken

Hope everything is a OK in NC. As for "Walt was now the laughingstock of St. Aignan", I learned early enough , living as a couple with no kids , to ask for "le plus petit poulet" ou "la petite dinde" when it would be only the two of us. Same thing when I go to the fishmonger : pour deux SVP

Ken Broadhurst said...

You are so right. The best thing to do is to specify how many people you are feeding. I usually tell them I want the right quantify for four people, because we are big eaters and we like to have food left over when it is really good. I guess I don't really like giving control of the quantity I want to the opinion of a vendor or clerk, but that's the way it works at the outdoor markets.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks, Kim. The news from N.C. is not very good, unfortunately. I'll be having a look at your blog.

Travel said...

Nice looking bird

Travel said...

Nice looking bird

Ken Broadhurst said...

We peel the roasted garlic cloves at the table, on our plates. All you have to do is cut the end of the clove and mash it with your knife or fork for the soft garlic to pop or squirt out of the husk. We didn't eat and haven't eaten the cooked onion! It gave some flavor though, I'm sure.

News from N.C. is not good at this point, but it's still not clear what the outcome will be.

Ken Broadhurst said...

You betcha.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I have done butterflied or 'spatchcocked' chicken several times. It's a good method.

As for the Saint-Aignan market chicken, it was perfectly fresh. Not, as they say in France, industriel, but farm-raised and locally butchered. I probably went overboard with the word 'guts' -- I'v gone back and changed it to 'giblets' in the post.

chrissoup said...

Best wishes to your relative.
That chicken looks wonderful.
We'll be having your butternut squash tagine for supper tonight.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Whenever our cockerel gets a bit uppity I remind him that we still have the recipe for chicken with forty cloves of garlic, or in his case, sixty cloves....