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Provençal Chicken

Sauté de poulet à la Provençal

This delicious dish, which includes fresh tomatoes – known in Provence as pommes d'amour, or love apples – is found almost anywhere in Provence, but especially in the Vaucluse.

This is a pan-cooked chicken dish and almost certainly is a dish that originally would have been prepared outdoors over a wood-burning fire. The better the quality of the chicken, the tastier the dish will be.

Provencal Style ChickenProvencal Style Chicken

Ingredients

1.5kg chicken thighs or legs or wings

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

100 ml white or rosé wine

1 fresh bouquet garni of oregano, marjoram, bay leaf and basil.

350 gm of ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp tomato purée

12 de-stoned black olives, lightly crushed

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped, or a mix of fresh herbs

salt and ground black pepper

Variants:

Use Rice Bran oil instead of olive oil, for a healthier option

Use chicken stock instead of wine

Substitute high quality tinned tomatoes, lightly chopped

Method

Pat the chicken pieces dry and rub all over with salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based frying pan or a flameproof casserole

 Fry half the chicken over a high heat for 10 minutes, pressing the pieces down from time to time to maintain contact with the pan, and turning them often to brown

 Transfer the chicken to a warm place, and cook the other half in the same way, and also set aside

 Put the onion in the pan and fry for 1 minute, stirring

 Pour in the wine and add the bouquet garni, scraping up the sediment as the wine reduces to about half

  Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and olives, and cook for 3-5 minutes on a high heat, stirring.

 Return the chicken to the pan, cover with a lid (or foil) and cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender.

 Mix the garlic and parsley together, and scatter over the chicken and serve hot.

The garlic and parsley mix, in this simple form, is known as persillade. If it is introduced into the cooking at a late stage, as suggested here (#9), the garlic is quite strong. This can be mellowed somewhat by combining this step with #8.

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