What’s on your weekend menu? Over in France, a traditional Sunday dinner often features poule au pot, which literally translates to “chicken in the pot.” The classic dish has quite the history too. While some kings — such as Louis XVI — were very much focused on high-class feasts with as many as 50 dishes even as the country suffered from famines, other kings at least attempted to create policies that would help feed the nation.
That’s how the story goes with Henri IV. He attempted to create a policy in which all peasants had a “chicken in a pot” every week. While that promise went unfulfilled, it did lead to the classic poule au pot recipe; the recipe’s name is an apt one, as all the ingredients all go into one pot. Naturally, what those ingredients are varies from region to region and is entirely based on what’s in season. In fact, in Normandy, hen is more traditionally used, rather than chicken!
This particular recipe comes from Chef Sinead of our Discover Normandy cooking vacation, and all of these ingredients are readily available from the local market. This recipe is designed for four to six people.
Poule au Pot
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 195 minutes
Cook method: Simmer
- 1 broiler hen or chicken, about 2 kilos or 4.5 pounds
- 2 onions, studded with cloves
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
- 3 leeks, chopped and thoroughly washed
- 3 turnips, peeled
- 2 celery sticks, cut into long batons
- Bouquet garni (such as bay leaves, parsley, thyme, etc)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tub of crème fraîche
1. Cover the broiler in water in a large pan. To the pan and water, add the garlic, onions, as well as the bouquet garni. Season the broiler well.
2. Bring the pan to a boil, and then allow it to simmer for around 2 1/2 hours. (If using chicken, only one hour, as chicken will fall off the bone much faster).
3. While the pot is cooking, start preparing the vegetables by peeling, chopping, etc.
4. Add the vegetables to the pot of chicken, and allow the vegetables to simmer and soften, which should take about 45 minutes.
5. Remove just a little bit of the broth from the pot, and add to it the crème fraîche. Gentlly heat up the crème fraîche and broth mixture.
6. Once everything is done cooking, remove the skin from the broiler, and serve on a large platter. Plate the vegetables around the chicken.
7. The crème fraîche can be put into a sauce boat to allow diners to individually pour it over their serving! Bon appétit!
Learn more wonderful regional recipes such as this one with a trip to our Discover Normandy cooking vacation. This trip is not only the ideal way to experience the region’s cuisine — 3 hands-on cooking classes are included in the 6-night package — but the perfect way to discover the rich history of the area.
By Liz Hall
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