25 April 2011

Géline de Touraine et pommes sautées

Chewy. White. Dense. Smooth. Tender. Tasty.

Those are some of the words that describe the taste and texture of the flesh of a géline de Touraine chicken. Walt ordered one from one of the poultry vendors at the open-air market in Saint-Aignan a week before Easter, and I went and picked it up this past Saturday. We roasted it and made it our Easter dinner.

The géline de Touraine chicken ready for the oven

I just wanted to cook it simply — no sauce, no braising, no extra ingredients — to see what it would taste like. I'm glad I did, even though I now understand how good a géline prepared and served the way Ladybird described — in a Chinon red sauce with mushrooms — would be.

I've often bought and cooked farm-raised chickens here in France. They come from Brittany, or the Sarthe (around Le Mans), or other regions, and they carry the Label Rouge stamp of quality. But once in a while, I've found the meat kind of stringy. Sometimes the white meat will be really good, and the dark meat too tough — or vice-versa. That was definitely not the case with the géline. All the meat was tender though chewy, and none of it was dried out or stringy.

The géline as it came out of the oven

The géline meat was not mushy the way the flesh of the standard supermarket chickens can be. Those chickens, raised in cages, don't get enough exercise to give their muscles the workout they need to develop character and good texture and taste.

The géline de Touraine chicken is also called La Dame Noire because of its black plumage. This web site shows some photos of gélines, gives some recipes, and lists breeders who will take you for a guided tour of their operations. The breeders are near towns including Nouans-la-Fontaine, Chemillé-sur-Indrois, La Celle-Guenand, Cussay, Betz-le-Château, and Dierre — all south and east of Tours.

Pommes de terre sautées

To go with the roasted géline, we just made some sautéed potatoes and a green salad dressed with vinaigrette. That's a French café classic and standard: Poulet rôti - frites.

I ended up roasting the géline on a rack in a pyrex dish instead of on the rotisserie. It just seemed easier to do. I rubbed softened butter onto the skin of the breast and drumsticks, sprinkled on some salt, pepper, and sweet paprika. I cut a big cloved of garlic in half and put it inside the bird. And then I poured some white wine in the bottom of the pan, threw in a couple of bay leaves, and set it in a hot oven. As it cooked, we basted it with the wine and drippings, and we gradually lowered the oven temperature so that the bird would be well-cooked but not too browned.

Meat and potatoes, and salad after

For a special treat, the géline is worth the price. Ours weighed 1.65 kg, or just over 3½ lbs., and cost €19.52 from the vendor at the Saturday market in Saint-Aignan. On one blog I found, the author says that gélines go for 25 to 30 euros, so I think we got a good price from our vendor.


  1. I don't think I have ever eaten a Géline before. Yours really look good and those potatoes crispy on the outside and "moelleuses" inside must have been wonderful.
    I get my visual treat every day looking at Walt's pictures of spring flowers and your recipes, french life in the country. How I wish I was there right now!

  2. mmmmmmm :) It all looks delicious!
    My Gratin Dauphinois was quite good-- thanks to your inspiring post from 2007 (I think) :)) I also read Julia Child's recipe, and someone else's, but they were all virtually the same. One difference was the temperature and cooking time. Your recipe called for a 350° (F) oven for 60-90 minutes. The others called for a 425° (F) oven, and 20-40 minutes. I didn't have much time, so I went with the latter, and took it out after about 30 or 35 minutes. It was perfect and delicious! We didn't eat it until several hours later, so I re-heated it in a low oven for about 20 minutes more.

    We have no school for students today, but staff is going in and we're all going to try to help with tornado cleanup and feeding workers and displaced families. I've found out that two of my French 4 students had very heavy damage to their homes.

    Our airport is back up and running again, much to everyone's amazement and relief!


  3. thats scary Judy.....glad ur ok....the pics were amazing.....
    I am happy to hear that that chicken was worth the funds....sounded extremely pricey ...hard to beat good roast chix tho...was 90 here in richmond yesterday (and gonna be today too) what will it be like in aug.....whew

  4. So sorry for your students and all the people who had damages in the storm, Judy. It is a miracle that none were killed.

    The chicken looks delicious, Ken. I know I would love those potatoes, too!

  5. 30€ for a chicken? That's beaucoup des euros. I don't think I'd spend that kind of money on a chicken, no matter how good it tastes.

  6. Wow, glad that chicken was so good Ken. Would have been disappointing were it not, for that price.
    The best chicken I've had was one from Bresse. Tried it in Bourge en Bresse at a restaurant and then bought some to cook at the apartment. Both very good, but also very pricey. I like the fact that they have a good, if short, life as well.

  7. That chicken looks and sounds delicious. Just saw your post about going to market and meeting and visiting with so many folks. What a lovely way to get the groceries -- can't imagine that happening here amidst supermarket rushing.


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