Rue Norvins and Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Paris, France
Rue Norvins and Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Paris, France
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Recipe Source:

Roger Vergé's New
Entertaining in the French Style

by Roger Verge, Pierre Hussenot, Photographer,
1997, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc.


La fricassée de poulet aux figues fraîches
(Chicken Fricassee with Fresh Figs
in Port Sauce)

"This dish is all at once surprising, economical and delicious."

Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Ease: Moderate
Cost: Moderate
Yield: 6 servings

12 very ripe black figs
10 fluid ounces (300 ml) red port
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 large ripe tomato
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 chickens, 3 1/3 pounds (1.5 kg) each
14 tablespoons (200 g) butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 celery stalk
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon
(can be replaced with 2 bouillon cubes)
7 ounces (200 g) rice (preferably long-grain,
perfumed, such as basmati)

Shopping: Ask your butcher to cut the chickens in 6 parts: 2 wings,
2 thighs, 2 drumsticks. Then request the wing tips, necks and carcasses
to be included.
24 hours in advance: Place the figs in a jar with the
port and 1 bay leaf. Cover and set aside to marinate.

Several hours in advance:
Crush the garlic cloves and remove the germ. Halve the tomato and squeeze to extract the seeds. Cut the flesh in cubes.
Set aside the cubed tomato, garlic and chopped shallots (but do not com-
bine). Chop the chicken wing tips, necks and carcasses.
Melt 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) of the butter over moderate heat in an iron casserole. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Lightly brown them on all
sides in the casserole. Set them aside on a plate in a warm area.
Put all the chicken pieces in the casserole. Sear them, stirring so they
brown evenly. Add the shallots and stir. Cover the casserole setting the
lid slightly ajar and pour off the fat into a container.
Add the coriander, 2 bay leaves, garlic, celery, and tomato to the
casserole. Pour in half of the port from the marinating figs. Arrange
the chicken sections on top so that they are not swimming in the
cooking liquid. Cover and simmer over low heat.
Meanwhile, bring the remaining port used to marinate the figs to a boil
and cook and reduce until the syrup thickens slightly. Set the syrup aside.
Remove the chicken pieces from the casserole. Arrange on a plate or in a bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm area. Add 5 fluid ounces (150 ml)
water and the powdered chicken bouillon to the casserole. Cook for 10
minutes at a simmer, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a
wooden spoon or spatula. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine mesh
strainer into a small saucepan. You should have about 5 fluid ounces
(150 ml) of sauce.

20 minutes before serving:
Cook the rice in salted water, following the cooking time given on the package.
Reheat the sauce over very low heat; do not let it reduce.
Place the figs in the saucepan with the reduced port. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, being careful not to split or crush the figs.
Place the chicken sections on a warm plate. Add 7 tablespoons (100 g)
butter to the sauce, and stir just until it comes to a boil. Immediately
take the sauce off the heat and nap it over the chicken. Arrange the
glazed figs around the chicken.
Stir 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) butter into the rice until melted. Serve the
rice on the side.

Chef’s tip: If you are short on time, you can omit marinating the figs
in advance by placing them with the port and bay leaf in a saucepan.
Cook covered, very gently over low heat for 1 hour.

Wine suggestions: With this dish I would serve a full-bodied red wine with a
fruity, spicy nose such as a Châteauneuf-du-Pape (southern Côtes-du-Rhône)
or, in a more economical vein, a Fitou (Languedoc). I would also be thrilled
to uncork a Burgundy Côtes de Nuits. All of these wines can be aged several
years. They are all served at 57-59 degrees F (14-15 degrees C).


Le gratin d’abricots aux amandes et au kirsch
(Apricot and Almond Gratins with Kirsch Syrup)

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Ease: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: 6 servings

For the fruits:
1 pound fresh apricots
1 vanilla bean
1 cup (200 g) honey
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch

For the almond cream:
5 ounces (150 g) ground almonds
2/3 cup (150 g) sugar
10 tablespoons (150 g) butter, softened
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons (25 g) sliced almonds
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

The day before: Prepare the fruit. Place the whole apricots in a stainless
steel saucepan (the apricot pit gives an almond-like flavor to the apricots).
 In a second saucepan, bring 20 fluid ounce (600 ml) water, the vanilla
bean, honey, and sugar to a boil. Pour the boiling syrup over the apricots. Bring the syrup back to a boil and take it off the heat. Cover the saucepan
and set it aside for 24 hours, checking that the apricots are well submerged
in the syrup. If necessary, place a plate upside-down in the saucepan to
weigh down the apricots so they are immersed in the syrup.

Several hours in advance:
Strain the apricots, cut them in half, and pit
them. Reserve the syrup. Set aside the most attractive apricot halves for garnish. Purée a quarter of the apricots with a little bit of the syrup to
obtain a thick compote.
In a bowl, combine the ground almonds and sugar. Add the butter,
whole egg, and egg yolks. Stir the mixture with a whisk to obtain a
smooth texture. Divide the apricot halves among 6 individual gratin
dishes. Cover them with the almond cream. If the cream is too stiff,
warm it very slightly to soften. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

40 minutes before serving:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (210
degrees  C). Bake the gratins for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Gently heat the apricot compote and add the kirsch.

Just before serving:
Place paper doilies on 6 small plates. Place the
gratin dishes on top. Serve immediately with the compote presented
on the side in a sauce boat.

Try replacing the apricots with peaches, pears or even
prunes. You can also use apricot brandy instead of kirsch.

Featured Archive Recipes by Roger Vergé:
Baby Artichokes en Barigoule
Baked Summer Vegetables with Two Cheeses
Eggplant with Black Olive Stuffing
Gratin of Leeks with Beaufort Cheese
Hearts of Fennel Braised in Vegetable Coulis
Roasted Royal Sea Bream...

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