When it comes to cooking, the French sure know what they are doing. Although French cuisine varies by region, it is highly regarded by chefs and diners alike for it’s technical skill and rich flavor profiles. When I think of traditional French cuisine, I think of comfort, relaxation, contentment. Coq au vin, ratatouille, croissants, cheese and wine are all favorites that I have gotten to know very well over my 26 years of living, and when I visited France this past summer, I began to appreciate this form of cooking in a whole new way. The ingredients, the culture, the work that goes into each dish, are all different on that side of the world. So much so, that after my 10 day love affair with France, I decided that I was ready to tackle the beast of French cooking on my own.
This has been both challenging and intuitive for me. The challenge being that finding ingredients as good as those in France is damn near impossible. But thanks to some of the lovely vendors at the Farmer’s Market in Leucadia, some of these are now within reach. The intuitive part is the actual cooking. French cooking makes sense to me. It is balanced, plays off of what is in season, and allows room for creativity. The day before I left for France, my aunt made an amazing country dish to warm up my palette, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.
I began researching different recipes for Chicken Provencale, and found a few that allowed a slow cooker to be used. Since slow cooker’s are really the only way I even have time to cook a meal like this, I decided to doctor up my own recipe so that once I perfected it down the line, I could really call it my own. But for my very first time, the dish came out so on point that my girlfriends and I licked our bowls clean. Needless to say there were no leftovers!
1 whole cut chicken (with skin and bones)
1 cup free-range chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 leaves of fresh basil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
juice from 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes
1 cup green olives (Castelvetrano are the best, if you can find them… I recently found them at Whole Foods)
Directions: Throw all ingredients, less tomatoes and olives, into a slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. After the 8 hours has passed, add the tomatoes and olives, a little sprinkle of salt and pepper and another squeeze of lemon juice, and cook on LOW for another 2 hours. I chose to serve mine over parmesan & pea risotto with a little of the leftover white wine and lemon juice. This recipe was perfect for 4 people. The chicken stayed moist and was falling off the bone by the time it was served. This is an insanely cost effective, hearty, balanced, easy to make meal that will impress guests. Bon Appetit!