From the Alsace you can count on good wines, and fine food. My favourite of the moment is an easy one-dish meal that offers a homey complexity of flavours. The following recipe will serve four, and is nice to have with with crusty French bread and a bottle of crisply chilled white wine. Just remember that with all things French, freshness is the key to success.
one whole chicken, cleaned and quartered
two tablespoons butter
two peeled, sliced onions
one pound sliced fresh mushrooms
two cloves crushed garlic
seasonings - small amount of crushed thyme, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, one never knows exactly what goes into a boquet garni - it varies seasonally and to the taste of the chef - experiment!
one-third bottle of a good French white wine, a Pinot Blanc or Reisling would go great with this dish
two cups creme fraiche or sour cream
In a large, deep heavy skillet that has a tight-fitting lid melt the butter and then brown the chicken on all sides at a high heat. Don't burn it!!! Remove the pieces, set aside on a plate and lower the heat.
To the pan add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, wine and seasonings. Stir it up well, layer the chicken pieces back on the top of it all, and cover.
Cook for 35 - 45 minutes until chicken is very tender. Turn off heat when cooked, and pour sour cream over all of it, and serve.
Don't forget that fresh French bread! The wine will wash it down quite well, and a small garden salad would make this simple meal quite satisfying...
Recipe by Martin Trip, Editor of the Hip Guides.
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