Bringing back Provence ….with cooking



Boulangerie Paul circa Oct'11, we did not know of its fame, but knew it must be tasty to have such long queue

Boulangerie Paul
circa Oct’11, we did not know of its fame, but knew it must be tasty to have such long queue

K and I had the pleasure of visiting Aix-en-Provence back in 2011. This small town in southern France is all about leisure, open market, and good food. Here we sampled one of the best macaroons (Boulangerie Paul), and tasted traditional French classic poultry dish – fricassee de poulet (chicken in white wine sauce). This poultry dish completely changed K’s bias against French cuisine. He always thought French cuisine too heavy on flavor, cream …etc. However, the chicken fricassee we had at Le Grillon (one of Paul Cézanne‘s fave hangout) was light yet flavorful, with tender meat falling off the bone.


K & his new found love for french cuisine – fricassee de poulet

The other day, I came across the recipe on Simple Bites, and immediately I remembered the taste of the comforting dish, and the leisurely pace of Aix-en-Provence.

Surprisingly, it is not hard to make at all! This dish is perfect to make ahead, as the meat becomes more flavorful sitting in the sauce.


our version
in olfactory heaven

See the recipe below (re-blogged from Simple Bites)

My only modification to the recipe was substituting the heavy cream with whole fat milk. It turned out just fine. Also, K worked really hard to peel all 40 cloves of garlic. Next time we will use the pre-peeled ones from the market.

Enjoy this fragrant, easy, and yummy dish ~


Chicken Fricassee
(chicken in white wine sauce, or in this case, chicken with 40 cloves of garlic)
  • 40 cloves of garlic, about 3 whole heads
  • 3 – 3 ½ lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Optional: fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Separate the cloves of garlic. This can be done up to 5 days in advance and stored in a lidded container in the fridge.
  2. Thoroughly dry the chicken pieces with paper towels. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Sauté the chicken skin-side down until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side. Do this in batches if necessary. Turn the chicken over with tongs and when a batch is done transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Continue to cook the remainder of the chicken the same way.
  4. Transfer the last of the chicken pieces to the plate, lower the heat and add the garlic to the pot, cooking it for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until it’s evenly browned.
  5. Add the wine to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices that have collected on the plate, sprinkle the tarragon over the top, and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.
  6. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Whisk together ½ cup of the sauce from the pot and the flour to make a thick paste. Return the mixture to the pot and stir it back into the sauce. Add the cream and boil for 1-3 minutes or until thick. Check the seasonings and adjust if needed. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.
To make in advance, put the chicken back in the pot after the sauce has been made, cover it and allow it cool before storing in the fridge. Slowly reheat the chicken before serving.Inevitably the chicken skin softens when it cooks in the wine. If you prefer your finished pieces to be crispy, remove the reheated chicken pieces from the pot and place them on a baking sheet. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a platter and pour the warm sauce over the top, or serve it on the side.

5 thoughts on “Bringing back Provence ….with cooking

  1. foods for the soul January 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm Reply

    Now I really miss France! Although I never traveled to the south, I’ve explored Paris, Mont Saint-Michel, and Annecy. They all have such amazing food, especially the baguettes and fruit tarts!


    • MKliving January 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm Reply

      Same here! We visited Nice and Provence when we were there, really enjoyed the people, the scenery and the food there. Oh, and the gelato! =)


      • foods for the soul January 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        I missed out on the gelato… We were too busy with macarons and chocolate tortes and apricot-and-pistachio tarts! I’ll have to start planning a new trip soon. :]


      • MKliving January 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

        Plz do share when you do!


      • foods for the soul January 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        Of course!! I’ll come back at least 5 pounds heavier too… ;]


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