La Poule
La Poule
Pullen, Grace
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La Belle Cuisine - More Poultry Recipes

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create an act of integrity, and faith."


Poulet aux Écrevisses
(Chicken with Crayfish)




"A crawfish is brave. When a nutria or an armadillo walks across the
railroad tracks and sees a train coming, it runs. A crawfish gets up on
the rail, and just before the locomotive runs over it, he raises his claw
to smash that big thing coming at it."

~ Cajun Folk Legend

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Blue Crawfish
Maccrone, Suzanne
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Poulet aux Écrevisses
(Chicken with Crayfish)

Saveur Cooks Authentic French
Saveur Cooks Authentic French

by the Editors of Saveur Magazine, 1999, Chronicle Books

Living in South Louisiana as I do, I am tempted to go through the entire recipe
and change the word “crayfish” to “crawfish” every time it appears. I have
decided to restrain myself, however, since this is Saveur’s recipe, not mine. For
those of you in parts of the world other than the region of the USA known as the
Deep South, I’ll just say that down here in bayou country we insist on referring
to these crustaceans as crawfish. [MG]

Mixed Metaphors

“Students of the American psyche might well speculate on the impulse behind the creation of that much- (and justly) maligned American/Continental restaurant classic called surf and turf – which is usually steak and lobster on the same plate. Was it an expression of plenty? A way of showing off? A misguided attempt to make a really great dish by combining a couple of very good ones? The underlying principle behind poulet aux écrevisses, a specialty of the French department of the Rhône-Alpes, is clearer: The best chickens in France come from the nearby plains
of Bresse, and crayfish thrive in the Alpine streams to the east of Lyon, and especially around the town of Nantua. What could be more logical than to marry these two regional treasures? It is a French tradition, after all, to let local ingredients inspire the creation of local dishes.”

Serves 4

“Live crayfish, sometimes available from specialty seafood markets, are best for this dish. If you can’t find them, use frozen precooked whole crayfish instead.”

For sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. live or defrosted frozen crayfish, rinsed
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 medium tomatoes, peeled
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh tarragon
3 bay leaves
2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish

For chicken:
One 4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil

1. For sauce, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crayfish and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes (2 minutes if using precooked crayfish). Remove skillet form heat, add Cognac, and carefully ignite with a kitchen match, keeping skillet lid nearby to extinguish flames if necessary. Return pan to heat and cook until flames doe out.
2. For chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees [F]. While sauce cooks, season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding pan, add chicken and brown on all sides, turning as pieces brown, about 15 minutes in all. Remove pieces as done and set aside. Return chicken pieces to skillet and put in oven. Cook until juices run clear, about 20 minutes more. Turn off oven, transfer chicken to a large platter and cover with aluminum foil. Return chicken to oven to keep warm.
3. Remove one-third of crayfish from skillet and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, shallots, and carrots, and cook until soft, 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, tarragon, bay leaves, and wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, season sauce with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon over chicken. Add reserved crayfish and garnish with parsley.

  Featured Archive Recipe:
Cajun Sausage and Chicken with Black-eyed Peas and Rice

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