Ever since I became interested in cooking, it has been a given that I'll get some foodie gifts for Christmas. This year was no exception, and Joe got me the perfect set of gifts that I hadn't even asked for! As I've written about before, I really enjoyed the book My Life in France, and the movie Julie & Julia. I have cooked a few Julia Child recipes that I've found online or in magazines, but I didn't own a copy of the cookbook that started it all. Joe surprised my with the combination of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the movie Julie & Julia! I am married to the most thoughtful guy (as of today we've been married 3 years! Yeah, it's our anniversary today!).
Cute movie, classic book, happy cook named Erin :)
Being the cheesy person that I am, I knew I needed to make dinner from the cookbook the same night that I watched the movie. My recipe of choice was Poulets Grilles a la Diable (Chicken Broiled with Mustard, Herbs, and Bread Crumbs). I did kind of change the recipe to suit our tastes and to be a little healthier, but for the most part I did what Julia said. The chicken was tender and flavorful, and just buttery enough to pair nicely with the movie. I also made the Brussels sprouts from Thanksgiving, and boiled some small potatoes to serve on the side. This ended up being a better dinner then I planned, although the work I put into it was evident when Joe went into the kitchen to do the dishes!
I'll type the recipe pretty much how it appears in the book. My changes were pretty simple. First, I used chicken legs (thighs & drumsticks, still in one big piece). I cut most of the skin off before cooking, because I knew we wouldn't eat the skin, and I didn't want all the mustard sauce to come off with the skin. Julia would probably shake her head at this slightly healthier adjustment, but I know I'll never use this cookbook if I make the recipes exactly how she wrote them! I used dried thyme, because it is what I had at home already, but I think fresh herbs would be really nice. For the breadcrumbs, I toasted some french bread cubes that I was going to put in the food processor, but then I was talking to my sister on the phone and burned the crap out of the bread. So, I used store bought from the can bread crumbs, because I really didn't feel like toasting more bread. I think fresh bread crumbs would be way better, so next time I'll try to pay more attention!
Poulets Grilles a la Diable
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2 ready-to-cook, 2 1/2 lb broiler chickens, halved or quartered
6 Tbsbsp butter, 2 TB oil, melted in a saucepan
6 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp finely minced shallots
1/2 tsp thyme, basil, or tarragon
1/8 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups fresh bread crumbs
Preheat oven broiler to moderately hot. Dry the chicken thoroughly, paint it with the butter and oil, and arrange it skin-side down on the broiling pan. Place it about 5 to 6 inches from the broiling element, and broil 10 minutes on each side, basting every 5 minutes. The chicken should be lightly browned. Salt it lightly.
Blend the mustard with the shallots, herbs, and seasoning in a bowl. Drop by drop, beat in half the basting fat to make a mayonnaise-like cream. Reserve the rest of the basting fat for later. Paint the chicken pieces with the mustard mixture. Pour the bread crumbs into a big plate, then roll the chicken in the crumbs, patting them on so they will adhere. (I only painted the mustard on the top of the pieces of chicken, then sprinkled the bread crumbs on top. Partially because the bottom of the pieces of chicken was mostly bones, and partially because I was feeling lazy and didn't see the need to dirty another dish for the crumbs!)
Arrange the chicken pieces skin-side down on the rack in the broiling pan and dribble half the remaining fat over them. Brown slowly for 10 minutes under a moderately hot broiler. Turn, baste with the last of the fat, and brown 10 minutes more on the other side. The chicken is done when the thickest part of the drumstick is tender, and when the juices run clear. (Since I only did mustard & bread crumbs on the top of the chicken, I finished it by only broiling it with the mustard side up, for about 15 minutes. And yes, I did pour the extra fat over the chicken! Made it extra crispy. And tasty.)