I thought I’d start a new feature on my blog, which I will hopefully keep up with. Each Recipe of the Month post will feature a recipe I’ve recently made. In this case, I loved it so much, I made it twice within as many weeks! Roasted Chicken Provençal is from the New York Times, so I have just linked to their recipe, which has apparently been quite popular with readers. It has whole quartered lemon in it, and even though I don’t eat the rind, I love the taste the roasted rind adds to the dish, along with all the juice. My fondness for rosy shallots has grown by leaps and bounds lately, maybe because I keep finding nicer and nicer ones in the markets, including organic shallots at Blue Moon Acres in Pennington. Ditto garlic, I buy organic whenever I can, nice fat, firm cloves.
Of course, me being me, I made a couple of changes. First of all, I used all chicken thighs rather than whole legs. I had thighs in the freezer anyway, and they are my favorite part of the bird. I automatically bought them for the second “batch” too, but next time I make this, I may just try it with whole legs, because one thigh is not quite enough for dinner, even with the vegetables, salad, etc. I serve with it. So I find myself cutting thighs in half, to have 1½ per serving. Maybe a drumstick will fill in for the half thigh, if I buy smallish legs (the original recipe says a serving is one whole leg or two thighs.)
I also thought this recipe cried for olives, and I had lots of mixed olives to use up. So I added those both times. I left the pits in, because I find it easy to just spit those out as I eat them, but if you tend to forget (and crack your tooth), or if there are kids, or if your dinner is for company, you may prefer to pit the olives first. And of course you could just buy pitted olives in the first place, but then use them promptly, as I don’t think pitted olives keep nearly so well as pits-in. I’m just saying’…
The step of dredging the chicken in flour is well worth it, because it results in a lovely thick-ish sauce. I just put flour in a plastic bag with salt and pepper and shook the thighs in that. And, while I’d planned to serve this with rice, at the last minute I remembered I had some multi-grain sourdough bread to use up, so lightly toasted that and it was excellent under the chicken.
Remember to have dry vermouth on hand for this dish, and don’t stint on it. Of course, you could use white wine if you don’t have vermouth, but I tend to keep vermouth on hand anyway, and will now go through it faster than ever in order to make this delicious dish. Four forks!