Grandmother's Chicken (Poulet au Grand-Mère)

Posted by Jenni Harris
Jun 24, 2016 1:49:00 PM

Courtesy of Virginia Willis
(Serves 4 to 6) 


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces or 6 bone-on, skin on breasts or thighs 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 6 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 heads garlic (about 20 cloves), separated, peeled and tough ends removed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 18 bite-size fingerling potatoes, or 6 yukon gold potatoes, cut  into 1" chunks
  • 12 white button or cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth


Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook covered without moving the pieces or crowding the pan, in batches if necessary, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. (Take your time; you want a nice, rich brown.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm while you cook the vegetables. 

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Decrease the heat to medium. Add the bacon, shallots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon starts to render and the vegetables start to take on a little color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and return the chicken to the pan. Pour over the white wine and stock. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the juices of the chicken run clear when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 

Variation: You can make this recipe with boneless, skinless breasts instead of bone-in pieces. Simmer the breasts as directed on top of the stove along with the other ingredients, but just until the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the breasts to a warmed plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let the sauce continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Return the breasts to the sauce and finish as directed.


Brilliant Technique - Monter au Beurre
Monter au beurre is a term used meaning whisking cold butter into a sauce to add richness and gloss. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and chicken to a warmed serving platter. Tent it with aluminum foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the sauce is reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a whisk, swirl in 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter. Taste and adjust for seasoning with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, and serve immediately with a crusty baguette to sop up the sauce.

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