Poule au pot
============ 2019-12-20


Inspired by (but not only): poule au pot

Comment: This traditional dish from France has gained notoriety thanks to King Henry IV who wanted all French people to be able to "put the chicken in the pot" every Sunday. It's a winter dish, simmered, with seasonal vegetables. Normally you need a hen and not a chicken. This is because of the long cooking time, which may be necessary for the hen, but a chicken will have trouble staying together. Nowadays it is difficult to find hens, so we have to compromise with a chicken and limit the cooking time somewhat. Typically, the hen is stuffed with a stuffing made the chicken liver and heart, bread and ham. It does not add much and I skip this step. The dish is served with rice, and a supreme sauce, described below. The supreme sauce does not normally contain white wine, but I think this brings a little twist here.
Another option is to present the poule au pot in jelly, more pleasant in summer. See on this site Poule au pot en terrine

5 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
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For the hen:

1 hen 1.2 to 1.5 kg (or chicken)
4 carrots
4 turnips (medium) or 2 turnips and 1 kohlrabi
1 celery stalk
2 leeks (white + green)
2 onions
1 bouquet garni: 2+ bay leaves, 2 thyme twigs, a few sprigs of parsley (opt)
 and a second time as much for inside the hen.
4 cloves
~10 grains of black pepper
2 cloves of garlic plus 6 for the cavity
1 lemon
1 chicken bouillon cube or equivalent.

for the sauce:

35 g butter
35 g flour
1.5 dl cream
1 dash of lemon juice (opt)
0.8 l chicken broth (taken from the pan).
2 dl dry white wine
S + P

For rice:

250 g rice (no more with all these vegetables)
chicken broth according to package instructions


Preparation:
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Prepare the garlic cloves, wash the leeks well, separate the white from the green and prepare the bouquet garni by stringing the herbs (thyme, bay leaf, parsley) within 2 leek leaves. Tie together the other leek leaves for easy removal after cooking.

Prepare the chicken: put a little salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme in the chicken and a lemon pierced with several stabs. Tie to seal the cavity and to hold the drumsticks together. See for example poule au pot at 2:20'

Place the hen in a large Dutch oven with the bouquet garni and enough cold water to cover it.
Add a cube of chicken broth in the water to accentuate the taste a little.
Start cooking, and skim the pot if necessary.

Cut the vegetables into (very) large pieces including the white leeks.
Place the vegetables in the Dutch oven.
Salt.

Cook on low simmer for ~1:30 (as soon as it starts to simmer) half covered.
If it is a hen, add ~1 hour of cooking.

Reserve the chicken in a temperate oven while preparing the rice and sauce.
Eliminate the bouquet garni and the leek greens.

Take some broth for the sauce (~8 dl) and for the rice (according to package instructions).

Add 2 dl of dry white wine to the broth for the sauce and reduce it quickly to ~0.5 l to eliminate the acidity of the wine and concentrate the flavor of the broth.

Prepare the sauce by making a roux with the butter and flour. Cook ~1 min.
Add the broth, beat well, bring to a boil, add the cream and a dash of lemon juice.
Salt and pepper (white pepper).

In parallel prepare the rice according to the instructions on the packaging or see this site: spiced rice.

Cut the hen and serve with the vegetables, rice and a generous amount of sauce.