Friday, October 9, 2009

France Flashback

When I was 16, I took part in my high school's French exchange program. A student (named Aurelie) from Southern France who was learning English, came to stay with me for 2 weeks and I, learning French, went and stayed with her family for 2 weeks. I was really excited about going to Southern France and I didn't even consider the kind of food that I would be eating when I was there. Some of the fondest memories I have of my stay almost always involved food.

One night, my exchange student's mother had made this delicious whole chicken. She baked and basted it slowly for hours and the smells that filled the house, quite frankly, reminded me of home. I always considered chicken a really boring protein until I tasted the chicken that Aurelie's mom had placed in front of me.

I was startled at first because it didn't taste like chicken! It was moist and it melted in my mouth. The herbs that it was cooked with had permeated the meat in such a way that every bite was a small sample of France. This meal changed the way I looked at chicken forever. I had a new found respect for it.

I had a craving for this same melt-in-your-mouth, herb chicken this week and decided to take a stab at it. I wanted those flavors that reminded me of home so I stuffed the chicken with garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and garlic powder. I didn't want to mess with flavors too much. I like to keep it simple!

I wasn't sure how I could make it really tender but I remembered watching Emeril Lagasse one morning on The Foodnetwork and he was making a whole chicken. He seperated the skin from the breast meat and stuffed butter in between. I thought I'd try it because I really wanted that nice tender, moist chicken!

I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees and after the chicken was all stuffed, I place a loose piece of aluminum foil over top and slid it into the oven. I baked it for about 2 hours, basting it every 1/2 hour or so. Then I took the foil off the top and placed a few pads of butter on top just for browning purposes and baked for another 30 minutes Yum!

Needless to say, the chicken turned out really tender and flavorful! It was so moist and delicous. AND the best thing about making a whole chicken are the leftovers!

Of course it doesn't top the chicken I had in France, but I suspect it was the chicken itself, how it was raised or what it ate, that made it so tasty. I think factors like that really do make a difference in food!

Has there ever been something you've eaten that was so devine that you've tried to re-make it yourself? If so, how did it turn out?

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so my salivary glands are in overdrive from reading this post.

    And yes, I attempted to duplicate my grandmother's Hungarian Goulash, but I got sick (from eating raw cookie dough earlier in the day) before the meal was done. I had to give instructions to Hubby on how to finish my Goulash.

    Terrible experience. A complete FAIL.