Because of Bocuse
I have another confession… until recently I had never heard of Paul Bocuse. Come to find out he is a worshipped God in the culinary industry. He is so important in fact that the Culinary Institute of America named there newly-renovated French restaurant after him. I clearly have so much to learn before I leave but I figured there is no better place to start then reading up on Bocuse.
Bocuse made significant contributions to French gastronomy throughout his career, but he is most famously recognized for inspiring nouvelle cuisine or new cuisine. His cooking approach aims to lighten traditional French cooking by reducing fat and calories. For example replacing some of the butter in a dish with olive oil. New French cuisine also emphasizes art and presentation.
Another reason Bocuse is highly celebrated today in the food world is because he was initially concerned with the romantic idea of using only the highest quality and freshest ingredients. An idea that was lost for a while in the food industry and is now being revisited by chefs around the world.
In honor of Bocuse and all the fresh tomatoes available I decided to make his chicken in vinegar sauce or poulet au vinaigre de vin. Bocuse lightens this classic by replacing tomato paste with fresh tomatoes and reducing the amount of butter by half.
I was a little skeptical at first that it would taste exactly as it sounded – chicken drenched in vinegar, but I was happily surprised. The vinegar flavor was mild while the acidity complimented the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes. I also loved his technique of cooking unpeeled garlic in butter. The resulting garlic ends up very similar to the flavor and texture of whole roasted garlic cloves.
I was also surprised by how easy this dish was to make. It was the first time in a long time that I had all of the ingredients on hand to make a dish from a recipe. Most often it is the simplest dishes that taste the best. Keep in mind Bocuse’s philosophy – use the highest quality and freshest ingredients. It really does make all the difference!
Poulet au Vinaigre de Vin
Yields 4 Servings
This recipe can also be found on Food and Wine’s website
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
One 3 3/4 pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 medium tomatoes (seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the garlic. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.
Boil the sauce over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Peel the garlic cloves and mash them into the sauce. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
Sources: "Chicken in Vinegar Sauce." Food & Wine. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.