Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Herbes de Provence Filet de Poulet sur les Louisiane Ragoût de Légumes

Herbs de Provence crusted chicken breast on stewed Louisiana vegetables!

     Lighter food is more popular in the summer.  The problem is that this food site is viewed internationally.  Many readers in the southern hemisphere are bundling up for winter.  Luckily for them, ever since I started the associates degree culinary operations program at Le Cordon Bleu, I have gotten way behind on writing new recipes.  There is a pile of over 100 recipes that need to be written and many are cold weather winter recipes.  Readers in the northern hemisphere may scratch their heads when they see a heavy rich winter recipe posted in the middle of summer, but those in the southern hemisphere will be happy to see some hearty cold weather food.  Ce est la vie!
     Lighter fare like vegetarian, seafood and poultry recipes that are not made with excess fats, cream, cheese or heavy sauces are great summer entrees, but they are also well liked by the health conscious crowd year round.  Vegetable ragoûts and ratatouille are easy to digest nutritious food that can make a person feel revived.  
     French cooking is a tradition in Louisiana.  Food tends to be highly seasoned in that region, yet the flavors are balanced.  The Louisiana vegetable ragoût in this recipe is zesty, a little bit spicy and highly seasoned, but it still compliments the flavor of the Herbs de Provence chicken.  I served this entree as a lunch special du jour at a French cafe in Florida a couple of times and customers liked it.

     Plain brown basmati rice was served with the entree in the pictures.  Cook one portion of rice while the ragoût simmers.  Long grain white rice is traditional in Louisiana, but a brown rice is okay. 

     Herbs de Provence Crusted Chicken Filet Preparation:
     Traditional French Herbs de Provence has no lavender in the mixture at all.  American Herbs de Provence has lavender leaves and flowers in the mixture.  This recipe calls for the traditional French version.  
     Trim any excess fat off of a large 6 ounce to 8 ounce boneless chicken breast.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle a few generous pinches of French Herbs de Provence on the chicken. 
     Press the herbs on the chicken.
     Refrigerate the chicken for 30 minutes, so the herbs have a chance to flavor the chicken. 
     Louisiana Vegetable Ragoût:  
     This recipe makes 1 portion!  A vegetable stew does not need to cook all day.  Overcooked mushy vegetables are not pleasant.  This stew simmers long enough for the flavors to meld and till the vegetables become tender.  
     The trinity proportions are used in this recipe.  Old traditional Louisiana recipes often call for butter and olive oil.  They also call for both white pepper and black pepper.  Mushrooms can be added first to create a richer flavor.    
     Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 4 pats of unsalted butter.   
     Add 1 thick sliced medium size portobello mushroom.
     Sauté till the mushroom slices become lightly browned.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced peeled celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of small bite size slices of green bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of small chopped seeded green jalapeno.
     Add 2 tablespoon of small diced carrot.
     Add 5 to 6 small to medium size whole okra.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color. 
     Add 1 cup of diced imported Italian whole plum tomatoes and a proportion of the juices from the can.  
     Add 2 ounces of dry white wine.
     Add 1 1/3 cups of vegetable stock.
     Add 1 small bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish paprika.
     Add 1 to 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of minced parsley.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the liquid, till a small amount of stewing sauce remains and the vegetables become tender.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Keep the Louisiana vegetable stew warm over very low heat.

     Herbes de Provence Filet de Poulet:
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter. 
     Add the reserved Herbs de Provence crusted chicken breast.
     Sauté on both sides, flipping once, till the chicken shows some golden highlights.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the chicken breast on a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Baste the chicken with the oil and butter in the sauté pan.
     Slow roast the chicken breast in a 325º oven, till it becomes fully cooked.  (165º center temperature for 15 seconds)
     Allow the Herbs de Provence crusted chicken breast to rest for about 1 minute.

     Herbes de Provence Filet de Poulet sur les Louisiane Ragoût de Légumes:
     Use a ring mold to place a portion of rice on the back half of a plate.
     Spoon the Louisiana stewed vegetables on the plate as a bed for the chicken.
     Use a carving knife to cut the chicken breast into 1/4" thick bias slices.  (Bias = 45º angle.  Wipe the blade of the knife between cutting each slice, so the chicken breast meat stays white!)
     Fan out the Herbs de Provence crusted chicken breast slices on top of the ragoût.
     Garnish with a curly leaf parsley sprig.

     This is a nice light summertime entree that has plenty of flavor.  Yum!  ...  Shawna   

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