Can you smell the chicken Provencal wafting through Rosslyn?
Sundays are the best day of the week for experimental cooking. Pungent aromas filling the house all day long just feels relaxing, the perfect reward for a week well lived.
Besides, Sundays at Rosslyn tend to be the lazy day of the week, affording more time for culinary caprice. During the week, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “efficient cooking”. The schedule is tighter, and the risks of a flop can outweigh the joys of taking risks in the kitchen. But on Sunday I get brave. It’s time for adventure!
This morning’s dish was less adventurous than some previous experiments – chicken Provencal (or chicken Provençal if you’re French-ish) is a pretty straightforward – but it nevertheless fueled my anticipation receptors. Enter the slow cooker. It’s the perfect way to concentrate flavors, preserve tenderness and stretch out the pleasure of a fine meal. Think of the aromas wafting through our house, enticing my appetite, tempting an early taste. Or two. (Though undercooked chicken offers pretty effective sneak prevention!)
I’ve often joked that some foods like bacon, popcorn, and chocolate chip cookies are almost as enjoyable to smell during their preparation phase as they are to actually eat. Take away the aroma of bacon cooking, and you’re left with a crinkled, strip of fat and marginal meat. But smell the bacon in the skillet, hear the occasional crackle, and you’re halfway to heaven before the first crunch.
Slow cooked sundae meals fit into the same category. The tangled fragrance of bay leaves and tarragon sweetened with caramelized onions. And the juicy chicken and white wine gradually marinating as it cooks. Tantalizing!
Here’s what I did:
- Cleaned, dried and browned four organic chicken thighs in olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Saute two finely chopped medium onions with three bay leaves.
- Add the chicken thighs to the onions and bay leaves, and pout 2 cups of dry white wine overtop.
- Slow cook on low for three hours.
It’s a hearty meal for two people or a savory middle course for four people. Today I paired the chicken provencal with garlic wilted spinach drizzled, but Brussels sprouts would also pair nicely. Along with the rest of that bottle of white wine. Aaahhh, Sundays…
The gallery below shows a bit more of the process. Enjoy.