Sharing this Dutch Oven Smothered Chicken recipe as I reminisce about our trip to Paris.
Boy oh boy, am I missing Paris. It’s been nearly a year and it appears a bit of my heart was left behind, somewhere between the multitude of outdoor cafes and the beauty of the champagne region hills.
Have you seen the movie Me Before You? In his goodbye letter, this is the restaurant where Will tells Louisa to sit outdoors and enjoy a warm croissant.
I kid you not, I go to bed dreaming of just how impossible (or not) it would be to immerse myself in a French pastry certification class, and extend my next stay far beyond 7 days. We have literally already begun planning our return, and I’d be fibbing if I said I wasn’t counting down the days.
To extend a bit of the culinary memories, I jotted down the meals that were the most impressionable on the plane ride home before I had an opportunity to forget them. There’s a couple that I want to recreate at home, and I knew if I didn’t write them down, I’d forget.
Ironically, I was not blown away by the food. I think I’ve marveled a bit too much of Julia Child, and thought I’d have the same experience upon tasting the much purer butter. It was good, really good in fact, but I just wasn’t floored.
(I was floored, however, by the French macaron class. I’ll do a separate post about it!)
I’m pretty sure the food underwhelm has something to do with being born and raised just outside of New Orleans, a city known for its cuisine. While the croque madame and monsieur from the famous Les Deux Magots was a nice deviation from our normal po-boy repertoire, it didn’t have me turning cartwheels. A gourmet burger from Little Cantine had me wanting to up my burger game (Brian’s burger had fig preserves on it), but it was still….a burger. A waffle from Paul delighted me with nutella and enough whipped cream to sink a ship, but still, nothing to just send out the “oooh, la la” cries of joy.
That was, until we were seated, family style, sandwiched between strangers at Cremerie Restaurant Polidor. An authentic and traditional Parisian style restaurant, it was literally steps from our hotel in the Saint Germain area of Paris. It was there that I witnessed the couple next to us, elbows nearly touching, served Smothered Chicken in their personal cast iron dutch oven. Now, I ordered the same “supreme de poulet”, but mine came served on a plate.
While tasty and while it did indeed go a long way at satisfying the craving of some down home cooking, there was no personal cast iron delivered. Clearly, the gentlemen next to us had frequented the establishment a time or two, and knew to order the same meal, and request it delivered piping hot, straight out the pot.
I wish I had known that little local secret.
In my attempt to strike up a conversation, my eyes wide with envy, I mumbled an “oh wow” their way and tossed them an excited smile on their behalf.
Not a glance.
Not a smile.
Nothing for this chatty American.
At least now YOU know that should you ever find yourself in Paris, craving Southern cooking while abroad, order yourself some chicken from Polidor and request your very own cast iron. It will make your table neighbors so very envious.
To recreate, I pulled out my 2.75 quart Revol Dutch Oven and got to work making a mushroom gravy and set my sights on serving my husband straight from it- just as if we were back in Paris.
(looks terrible but it was so delicious!)
I even pulled out a red and white checkered table cloth (partially to mimic Polidor and partially because it matched my serving piece), and popped open a bottle of wine.
And just like that, we were both transported right back to that dark and crowded restaurant where the chicken rocked my socks off in the land of baguettes.
Here’s a photo (bottom) of what the dish looked like in Paris, and the top is my recreation.
This would make the most delightful date night in for Valentine’s Day. Go ahead and skip the love bird crowd and make dinner at home. I assure you, you won’t regret it.