For our second Dish in a dish recipe, I had the desire to introduce you to a traditional dish of the Basque country in Southern France.
The recipe was given by my grandmother who would typically prepare that on Sundays for large tables as the procedure allowed her to sit with us instead of being in the kitchen. My grandparents lived in many regions of France because my grandfather was a government employee and was transferred often. My grandmother who came from a very humble family had to learn to cook and host dinners for my grandfather’s social and professional life and therefore learned in each region from women who were experts in the traditions. I was lucky to inherit those recipes.
West of the Languedoc region who gave us the Cassoulet, I am now featuring a Chicken Basquaise from a region closer to Spain among the heights of the Pyrénées mountains and the shores of the Atlantic ocean. Inside the lands are raised ancient porc breeds which are used for many charcuterie preparations and are grown a large variety of vegetables including green bell peppers and little spicy peppers from the village of Espelette.
Quite naturally this dish was born, highlighting whether the heritage chickens of the land or the tuna from the ocean with a combination of Bayonne ham, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
To accompany the dish rice is commonly served. A round rice from Camargue or Italy will give you a beautiful texture and a delicate flavor, cooked “Pilaff” with olive oil, onions, and chicken broth.
The vessel I chose for serving it in the restaurant serves the purpose of elegance on a table and function in the cooking of the dish. It is made by the Marumitsu pottery in Seto Japan by a local artisan who always has in mind the idea that design can serve a purpose. The traditions of France and Japan are brought together here through our crafts and common care for beauty and food.
Recipe for 4 people
Note from the chef:
I recommend that you choose produce and meat that is as local as can be. It is what will make your dish delicious and special, it’s a making a political decision about supporting farms around you and reducing your carbon print and finally because it’s what French cuisine is about.
You can serve the chicken in the Marumitsu pot and the rice on the side or spread the rice and chicken in 2 Marumitsu pots.
1pce 4lb Heritage chicken
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 pinch espelette pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8.5 fl oz (25cl) White wine (Irrouleguy is the wine from Pays Basque but a delicate Riesling from the Finger lakes would be a great match too)
0.4oz (12g) garlic cloves
0.85lb (400g) onions
1.1lb (500g) tomatoes on the vine
1.6lb (700g) green peppers
0.2lb (90g) scraps of Bayonne ham or your local farmer’s charcuterie
2 branches of thyme
Fine sea salt, freshly cracked white pepper
4 thin slices of Bayonne ham or your local dry ham
- Cut the chicken into 8 pieces cutting each breast into 2 pieces with the wings attached and the legs as well cutting through the joint between the thigh and the drumstick.
- Use the remaining bones to make a broth. Place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water, bring them to a boil, skim and add a simple garniture of carrots, leeks, onion and thyme. Simmer for 2 hours.
- Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds then refresh them in iced water . Peel and remove the seeds then cut in dice.
- Clean and peel onions and garlic then slice thinly.
- Wash peppers, remove the seeds and slice thinly.
- Slice thinly the ham.
- Pre-heat the oven at 400F.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove from the pan.
- Add to the same pan the onions, sugar, garlic, peppers and thyme. Slightly season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat stirring occasionnaly for about 20 minutes.
- Deglaze with the red wine vinegar, reduce until almost fully evaporated then add the white wine and reduce half way.
- Add the tomatoes.
- Transfer the peppers and liquid in the Marumitsu pot, place the chicken pieces over the peppers. Cover and cook in oven for 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove the liquid to reduce until it is thick. Pour over the chicken.
- Use the last spoon of olive oil to fry quickly the slices of ham just before serving.
- Serve the rice pilaff separately or empty the Marumitsu pot plus use an additional one, fill them half way with the rice, 2 portions of chicken and peppers and the sauce.
Rice Pilaff for 4
Note: the Marumitsu pot is a perfect vessel to cook the rice
35g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pce (80g )small onion
200g (1 cup ) round rice
1 2/3 cups (400ml) chicken broth
1 bouquet garni ( 1 thyme sprig, 1 leaf leek (thick green part), a bay leaf, 4 parsley stems)
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked white pepper
- Pre-heat the oven at 400F.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a deep oven proof pan.
- Add the diced onion and cook until it is tender but not colored.
- Add the rice and cook stirring constantly until translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper, add the boiling chicken broth and bouquet garni.
- Cover and place in oven for 18 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bouquet garni and separate the grains with a fork.