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French Classics

March 12, 2006

Richard Olney’s Chicken in Red Wine (Coq au Vin)

Traditionally, Coq au Vin is made with a tough old rooster. In France, there are all sorts of options for chicken – from roosters that have seen better days to twenty dollar chickens that have huge breasts and have a numbered anklet attached at birth to insure they are the authentic variety. Regardless of what you see on the Food Channel, never pour alcohol of any kind, including wine, straight from the bottle into a hot pan on the stove or in the oven. It may ignite in the bottle. Pour it first into a wide mouthed container, such as a measuring cup.

2 strips lean side pork, salted or smoked, approximately 2/3 inch thick
3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch sections
3 medium-sized onions, peeled and cut into pieces or coarsely chopped
1 chicken, preferably around 5 pounds, cut into serving pieces
2 tablespoons flour
1 bouquet garni
1/4 cup cognac
1 bottle good red wine (same as served as accompaniment)

½ pound mushrooms
butter (5-6 ounce sin all)
salt and pepper
25-30 small white onions
6 slices firm-textured white bread for croutons
1 clove garlic
chopped parsley

Cut off rind from side pork and cut each strip in 1/3 inch sections. Parboil for 2 minutes, drain and pat dry. Fry in a large skillet with a little oil. When the strips are golden brown on all sides, remove them and set aside. Add the carrots and onions to the fat. Stir 20-30 minutes over medium heat until cooked but not overbrowned. Remove, set aside, replace with the chicken pieces, previously salted and peppered. Cook them skin side down over a somewhat higher flame, turning as necessary until gently browned on all sides, sprinkle with flour and continue to cook. Return the sautéed onions and carrots to the pan. When the flour has cooked for a few minutes, pour in the cognac, then the wine and raise the heat. Stir the chicken pieces and move them around until the liquid comes to a boil. Transfer the chicken pieces and vegetables to an oven dish with a lid, add the bouquet garnet, or sprinkle with thyme leaves and add the bay leaf and parsley branches untied. Stir and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen and dissolve the frying adherents. Pour the liquid over the chicken pieces. If they are not entirely covered, add enough wine, water or good stock to barely, but completely, cover them Cook, hardly simmering, from 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours.

If the mushrooms are large, cut each one (cleaned) in 2 or 4 pieces. Toss them in butter over a high flame, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper, for 2 or 3 minutes. Peel the little onions, leaving them whole, cook seasoned with salt and pepper, in butter over a low flame, shaking the pan from time to time, for 20-30 minutes. Keep them covered and avoid browning them.

Transfer the chicken pieces and the carrots to a platter, discard the bouquet grin and skim fat from the surface. Pass the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, using a wooden pestle to work it, pour it into a saucepan, bring to the boil, place saucepan over flame so as to permit contents to simmer only on one side. A skin will appear containing fat – pull it to one side, remove and discard it. Repeat this process for ½ an hour.

Replace the chicken pieces, distribute the garnish on top and pour the sauce over. Cover and return to the over to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

Trim the crusts from the bread, cut in half diagonally and brown them in butter until golden and crisp.

To serve, place chicken pies on a large, heated platter. Rut the crouton triangles with the clove of garlic, dip one corner of each in the sauce, then in chopped parsley, and arrange them around the edge of the platter, parslied tips pointing out, pour sauce and garnish over the chicken and sprinkle with a bit of chopped parsley.

Quiche Lorraine

In the United States, you rarely, if ever, see salt pork tucked inside a Quiche Lorraine. But in the Loire region of France you rarely, if ever, see one without it. Of course you may decide to delete the additional pork, or use fat back or streak-o-lean if you prefer. The name for the pieces of pork is “lardoons”.

1 pie crust in the pan, prebaked lightly (see pie crust recipe for Apple tart)

1 small piece lean pork, salted or smoked, approximately 2/3 inch thick, rind removed
2 rashers bacon
1 small onion, sliced
3 eggs
salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 -2 cups freshly grated Swiss Gruyere or Compte

Cut the pork into strips 1/3 inch thick, parboil for a few minutes, drain and add to the oil in a hot sauté pan. Cook lightly until browned, remove, and add the bacon rashers and cook until brown and crisp. Remove, and drain, add the onion and sauté in the remaining fat. Mix together the rashers, bacon, and onion.

Mix together separately 3 eggs, the heavy cream, salt and pepper. Add the bacon/onion mixture and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into pie shell. Top with cheese as desired. Bake in a moderate oven for approximately one half hour or until the center of the custard is firm.

Single pie crust

The crust may be placed inside a tart pan with removable bottom, a pie plate, or make it free form. The directions here are for a pie pan. When using a tart pan with a removable bottom, be sure to put the pan on a baking sheet before filling with pastry, or the pastry may slip.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Mix together in a bowl the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. With a knife or food processor, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Beat together the cream and egg yolk and add to the flour. Mix to make a smooth ball and flatten into a round. Wrap well with plastic wrap and chill.
Flour a board, wax paper, or pie cloth and use a floured or stocking clad rolling pin to roll out the dough. Place the dough round in the center of the floured surface. Starting in the center of the dough, roll to, but not over, the top edge of the dough. Go back to the center, and roll down to, but not over, the bottom edge. Pick up the dough and turn it a quarter circle. This will keep it round and prevent it from sticking. Repeat your rolling and the quarter turns until you have a round 1/8 inch thick and 1½ inches larger than your pan. Fold the round into quarters.
Place the pastry in a pie pan with the tip of the triangle in the center, and unfold. Press well into the bottom edge being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim the pastry 1 inch larger than the pie pan, and fold the overhanging pastry under itself. To decorate, press the tine¬s of a fork around the edge. To make a fluted pattern, use both of your thumbs to pinch the dough all around the rim so that the edge of the dough stands up. Place in the freezer or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.
To prebake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Crumple a piece of wax paper, then spread it out to the edges of the pie pan. Fill the paper with raw rice or dried peas. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the rice or peas and paper. (The rice or peas may be used again the next time you prebake a pie crust.) Fill the crust with a filling and bake according to filling directions. If the filling requires no cooking, bake the pie shell 10 minutes more before filling.

Apple Tart makes 1 tart

2 or 3 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
¼ to ½ cup sugar or brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 de¬grees.

Arrange the apples in the tart pan, overlap¬ping them sligh¬tly to account for shrin¬kage. To make a spiral pat¬tern, overlap apple slic¬es, starting from the out¬side rim, always with the rou¬nded edges towards the outside rim, and spiraling to the center. Sprinkle with sugar to taste. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and there is a little brown on the tips of some apples.
To make the glaze, mix the lemon juice and jam, bring to the boil, and strain. Brush the hot glaze on the apples. Cool the tart on a wire rack. Remove the bottom if any. Serve it lukewarm or at room tempera¬ture.

To make a free form tart:

Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface and place on a cookie sheet. Cut out the design of your choice, either by hand or with a pattern. A traditional shape is a 10-inch circle or a rectangle, but alternate shapes include a Christmas tree, Christmas ball, turkey, apple, or pear. Cut a ½-inch-wide strip of dough to use as a rim. Brush the outer ½-inch edge of the dough with water. Put the strip of dough on the moistened part and press lightly to seal. Leave the edge as it is, or decorate it. Roll any scraps out into a rose, bow, or cut out into shapes. Chill. Fill the form with crum¬pled wax paper and rice or beans, and bake for 20 minutes. Re¬move rice or beans and paper.

Layered, fluffy, feathery, silky, soft, and velvety biscuits all come together in Southern Biscuits, a book of recipes and baking secrets for every biscuit imaginable.
The magical combination of shrimp and grits, whether for pre-dawn breakfast on a shrimp boat or as an entrée in the finest New York restaurant can be deliriously wonderful.
A beautiful book, winner of the James Beard Award for Entertaining, that will help the novice and the experienced alike.
The best of traditional Southern cooking, as well as innovative, new cuisine.
This book will be a keepsake for anyone with Southern roots, and a practical book for those who like to cook! A winner of the 1994 James Beard Award.
Master index to all of Nathalie's cookbooks

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