Dear Paris, I cannot wait to meet you again. I know we parted on somewhat bad terms but that was a long time ago. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit that I never ventured past a ham and cheese baguette, never whispered the language of love in your ear and walked in thongs along the Champs Elysées but I hope you’ll forgive me . And even though you took your revenge by lashing me with cold driving rain when I was barely half way up the Eiffel Tower and allowed me to get horrendously lost on the underground, I forgive you. That phase of my life has come to a welcomed end and I want you to know that I’ve changed. I’ve grown up a little and moved onto a deep appreciation of French wine and expensive European restaurants. I’ve also become a writer so maybe you’ll have to lend me a few euros to support my rampant epicurean addiction? Don’t dont’ worry, everything will be ok because this time around I’m sure its going to be real amour….
As so it is that I find myself with a ticket to France this June burning a hole in my hot little hands. I could not be more EXCITED! I’ve been dreaming of returning to Paris and indeed France for many years now but since my love of food has developed over time, the pull is stronger than ever. The last time I was in Paris, it was at the end of the 8 weeks backpacking through Europe. Even though I’d had a wonderful time and many memorable adventures along the way, I was longing for my friends, my own bed back in London and was fast running out of euros by the time I ventured up the Eiffel Tower. I just knew I’d have to give this majestic lady another try, another day, another 13 years later to be exact.
Since I have become immersed in my professional writing degree, I find even more so that I’ve become a giant human sponge for the world and stories around me. I like to linger, drink up the atmosphere, savour the flavours of wherever I am. The dish in front of me can speak volumes. I can’t wait for France to unfurl its secrets- so dear readers where should I go? Do tell……
In celebration of all things French and with the winter weather beginning to dig its heels in around Melbourne, this recipe is my own spin on more traditional chicken and cider dishes with addition of soft sweet potato and kale chips. I find adding goat yoghurt rather than cream adds a luxurious tang to the stew. This dish only requires one pot – I use my 6 litre French cast iron saucepan and and produces enough stew to feed a small army. Its great for mid week dinners and fantastic the next day as the flavours mellow. Sometimes I also turn it into a lovely chicken pie topped with crumbly, flaky pastry and pan fried asparagus which is equally satisfying..
Until next time – Au Revoir! xx
Française cidre ragoût de poulet avec des frites de chou frisé
Serves 4- 6
1 kg fresh chicken breast
1 kg diced sweet potato
1 kg swiss brown mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 sprig fresh thyme
300ml French cider or dry (alcoholic) cider
2 tbl sp of goat yoghurt (or cream)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 red onion
salt and pepper to taste
- Brown chicken then add half the cider and simmer for five minutes until cider has reduced slightly. Take chicken out and set aside.
- Add garlic, onion, thyme and mushroom and sautee until soft
- Add diced sweet potato, the rest of the cider and dijon mustard, cook on low heat for 20 minutes until sweet potato is cooked through.
- Turn off the heat, add yoghurt or cream to taste and serve with steamed greens
- Slice half a bunch of curly kale, spray lightly with olive oil and toss with sea salt and cracked pepper. Line a baking tray with baking paper, place kale on top and bake at 200C for 10 minutes – remove when the edges are getting a brown around the edges.