It looks like we’re going to have a rainy weekend. Nothing fits that weather better than French comfort food. I’m making my favorite “Honey Hen”, Provence tomatoes and a crisp mixed salad with parmesan crisps for dinner. It’s Mr. T’s favorite so I’ll be making points with this one! The smell of the house when the hen is roasting is nothing short of heavenly. It’s easy to prepare and always a pleaser. Serve this with a good Cabernet Sauvignon….the perfect pairing! Fall is slowly coming onto the island, I’m busy putting menus together and will have lots of delicious ideas for you over the coming weeks! Have a wonderful weekend!
Serves 4 – 6
This is the ultimate comfort food in my book. I always make a pot of homemade soup using what ever is left over. Just take the hen, bones and all, place in a Dutch Oven, cover with water and simmer for eight hours. Remove any bones and add leftover chicken meat with chopped fresh vegetables of your choice, some wild rice, simmer for two more hours and Voila! Another delicious meal to enjoy. Note: the honey mixture will give the hen a “laquered” appearance which may look dark, do not be disturbed by this…the meat under the skin is succulent and moist!
1 chicken (this can be kept whole or have your butcher cut it into eight pieces)
French Grey Salt and freshly ground peppercorns to taste
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 head garlic, cut in half
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the honey in a saucepan and whisk in the mustard and herbs. Pour over the chicken in a baking dish and roll the bird to coat it well. Scatter the shallots and garlic around the hen. Bake until the meat is cooked through, well browned and dripping in the sauce. If you are leaving the chicken whole this is about an hour. If you are cooking separate pieces it will usually take 40-45 minutes.
Sauce: After the chicken is cooked remove it from the baking dish along with the garlic halves. Place the dish on the stove top with the burner on medium heat. Add 1 cup dry white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape any drippings and meat from the pan. Reduce the heat and add two tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan. Simmer for about five minutes. If you would like a slightly thicker sauce you may add a “slurry” of 1 teaspoon cornstarch to 1/4 cup water, blended well and stirred into the pan.
Serve the sauce in a gravy boat to be spooned over each serving of chicken.
Provence Roasted Tomatoes
3 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half, crosswise. Squeeze the juice and seeds out gently, over a small plate and reserve for the soup stock you will make with the leftover chicken. Clean out the cavities of each tomato half with your fingers and place the halves in the baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Stir the bread crumbs with the remaining ingredients and stuff each tomato half generously. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake for twenty-five minutes, until the tomatoes are browned lightly.
Salad of Mixed Greens with Parmesan Crisps
1 head red butter lettuce
1 bunch watercress
1 head raddichio
1 small head baby Kale
Wash the greens well and place in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture. Tear the greens into pieces and wrap in paper towel or a soft kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to toss.
For a light dressing, mix 1/4 cup good olive oil, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, a pinch of dry mustard, sea salt and pepper to taste.
I recommend making these earlier in the day for the best results!
These are a delightful substitute for the traditional croutons you normally see in salads….no carbs and gluten free too!
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
coarsely ground black pepper
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take a small handful of cheese and place on the parchment, repeating until all of the cheese has been used. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and back at 325 degrees until lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet and place on paper toweling to cool and crisp up.
On chilled salad plates, place a generous serving of greens that you have tossed in the dressing. Garnish with the Parmesan crisps and serve. I like to serve this salad in the traditional French style, after the main course.