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Friday, October 31, 2008

Chicken with Vinegar & Onions, Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

Since this week is our 2nd Bloggerversary, we're giving you two recipes for double the French bistro pleasure!

Chicken with Vinegar & Onions, Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

Chicken with Vinegar & Onions, Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

I was trying to decide which was my favorite season and like with most things, I couldn't decide. I'm such a "in-the-moment" kind of girl that I end up loving whatever season it is. Right now, I'm loving Fall.

It's been very pleasant so far here in the Bay Area (I know, don't be too jealous of us temperate-weather folks). Not too hot and not too cold. Just cool enough that I can bake and I can make stewy/braise-y things without cursing the heat of the kitchen. Cool enough that I can drink my hot teas and yet not so cold that I can make es teler just the other weekend for some friends.

Anyway, today turned out to be a foggy, slightly rainy Fall day. Just perfect to curl up with something warm and filling and comforting.

Time to Cook Some Lentils

I've been wanting to try this recipe out of my Fine Cooking magazine called Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage. I had bought French Lentils a month or so back in anticipation of making it but the weather just stayed warm and didn't beckon me to make this. Yesterday, I decided the time had come.

So I looked up the recipe (which was on the back of the issue) and then out of curiousity, I flipped to the inside pages where they have menu ideas for meals from that issue and lo, and behold, the lentils were paired with another French Bistro dish, Chicken with Vinegar and Onions (Poulet au Vinaigre).

Now, I had almost all the ingredients for both dishes excepting Italian Flat Leaf Parsley and Green Onions (which I easily acquired from my nearby grocery store). So I was set to go.

But First, a Detour to the ER

Then this morning, I got out all the ingredients I needed and prepped some, and then a little incident involving kimchi jigae landed me in the ER for most of the morning and afternoon. If you really need to know the whole story....

I developed chest pains last night while working out at the gym and the pains stayed with me through the night into today. It warranted enough concern with the doctors that they told me to come in to the ER right away. They then gave me a whole battery of tests (EKG, chest x-ray, blood test, treadmill test).

Fortunately, everything checked out, and they sent me home telling me...to take an antacid (yes, this is where the kimchi jigae comes in--I had eaten a big helping of it before heading to the gym last night!).

Sheesh! That was 5 hours of my time, people! But I guess better safe than sorry. Anyway, I'm glad my visions of lettuce- and oatmeal-eating days to come didn't come to pass.

Back to Cooking

So anyhow, by the time I got home, I was starving and wanting chicken. I wasted no time and got right down to cooking. Thankfully, both dishes were reasonably easy to make.

Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

IMG_0031

adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, March 2007

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups French green lentils (about 10 oz) - I used almost 12 oz (cuz that's what I had and I didn't want less than 2oz left)
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, smashed (I used 4, cuz I can't reek enough)
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 small onion, peeled
1 small carrot, peeled and split lengthwise
8 oz smoked sausage, such as kielbasa
1 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (3-4 green onions)
Freshly ground black pepper

Dressing ingredients

2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar; more as needed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp walnut oil (I just used more EVOO)

Method

1. Pick over and rinse the lentils.
2. Place the thyme, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag (or get thee some of those nifty Japanese stock pouch bags from Daiso or its equivalent) and make a bouquet garni.
3. Put the lentils, sachet of aromatics, and the onion and carrot in a 3- to 4-qt. saucepan. Fill the pan with cold water to cover the lentils by about 2 inches, and bring to a boil over med-high heat.

French Lentils, Onion, Carrot, and Bouquet Garni

French lentils, onion, carrot, and bouquet garni


4. Immediately lower to a gentle simmer--boiling can break the lentils--and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, 30-40 mins. (If water level drops below the surface of lentils, just add a little more water.)
5. Meanwhile, put the sausage in a small saucepan or deep skillet. Add the wine and enough water to cover by about 1/2 inch. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat as needed to cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, about 15-20 mins. Drain sausage and slice into 1/4 inch rounds.
6. While the lentils and sausage cook, make the vinaigrette: Whisk 1 1/2 Tbsp of the vinegar with the mustard and a pinch of salt. In a steady stream, whisk in the olive and walnut oils. Season to taste with salt.
7. Drain the lentils, discarding the herb pouch, carrot and onion. Transfer to a large bowl and add 1 tsp salt and the remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar, tossing to coat (make sure to do this while the lentils are warm to get maximum absorption).
8. Add the sausage and vinaigrette to the lentils, tossing to coat. Stir in the parsley and green onions, and season with a generous amount of black pepper, plus more salt and vinegar to taste.

Dressing the French Lentil and Sausage Salad

Dressing the French Lentil and Sausage salad

(This recipe was entered in the Fourth Helping of "My Legume Love Affair", created by Susan the Well Seasoned Cook, and hosted by Sra of When My Soup Came Alive. )

Chicken with Vinegar and Onions (Poulet au Vinaigre)

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, March 2007, p 37.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 med-small yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 4-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 10 young chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on, or you could use a mix of thighs and legs to get about 4lbs)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinos Gris (I ended up using about 3/4-1 cup)
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used Italian flat-leaf parsley)
2 Tbsp creme fraiche (I used heavy cream)

Method

1. In a 12-inch skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with a couple of big pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and stir to coat the onions.
2. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and lightly browned, about 20-25 mins. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add 1 Tbsp (I added 2) of the vinegar and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the vinegar into the onions and set aside (it completely evaporated on me so I just scraped the dried bits up).
4. If using chicken parts, cut each breast crosswise into two equal-size portions and trim any excess fat or skin from the thighs. Rinse and pat dry.
5. Spread the flour in a pie plate, and season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
6. Set the skillet over med-high heat and add the olive oil and the remaining 1 Tbsp butter. While the butter melts, dredge half of the seasoned chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off the excess. Set them skin side down in the skillet. Brown, turning once, until the skin is crisp and the chicken is evenly browned, 6-8 mins total. Transfer chicken to platter and repeat with remaining chicken.

Chicken Browning in Pan

Chicken browning in pan

7. When all the chicken is browned, pour off all of the fat. Return the skillet to med-high heat, add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve the drippings.
8. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of vinegar, the sauteed onions, and 1 tsp of the tarragon.
9. Return the chicken pieces, skin side up, to the skillet, arranging them in a single snug layer. Partially cover, leaving a small gap for the steam to escape, and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Continue to simmer gently, turning every 10 mins, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 30 mins total.
10. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Increase the heat to a more rapid simmer, and stir in the creme fraiche (or cream); the sauce may appear broken at first, but it will come together.
11. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining tarragon (or parsley) and spoon over the chicken to serve.

Chicken with Vinegar & Onions, Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

Chicken with Vinegar & Onions, Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage

The chicken dish was simply delicious. The onions and vinegar is a wonderful combo (almost like a Chinese sweet sour combo) and when paired with a little cream to balance it out, I wanted to ladle that sauce straight down my throat.

But the surprise was the lentils. That salad was a beauty and so flavorful. The French lentils held their shape and the flavor was sweet, savory and earthy all at the same time. The Dijon mustard in the dressing played nicely with the red-wine vinegar and sausage. Nate could not stop eating this and preferred this over the chicken (I cannot take sides, they were both equally good to me).

But if you did want to just make one dish, they would both be good on their own with some crusty bread. So I hope you will try them both out together or on its own.

Enjoy!

Cheers, Annie

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Hungry for more great braised dishes? Click below:

Vegetarian Chap Chye (Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables)

Braised Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Roast Chicken with White Bean Stew

Oven Kalua Pig

26 Comments:

tigerfish said...

Happy 2nd Bloggerversary! New word!
Your blog has changed so much and you are whipping up beautiful and delicious dishes :)

Dee said...

I love French Lentil salad, never tried sausage with it. Nice presentation.

gastroanthropologist said...

I live with a husband who can't even fry and egg which doesn't really matter because I can cook. However, I've dreamt that one day I would come home to a meal...I hope it would like this!

Sharon said...

Glad to hear you're ok!! The photos are beautiful.

farida said...

Annie, you have a great blog! Recipes, photography, writing -everything is so good! Loved the chicken with vinegar and onions recipe!

Hungry Gal said...

This is a gorgeous photo....

I love de puy lentils. oh yum

Jenster said...

What a scary experience in the ER, but I'm glad you're okay and just full of acid. ;-)

The chicken looks amazing. I can practically smell it....

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Love the combination of these two recipes (I make a similar lentil and sausage dish often, with some preserved lemon chopped into it). And so glad there was no cause for alarm on the health front.

sra said...

Happy Bloggerversary! Glad it was only a scare and nothing serious. Thanks for the entry.

Food For Tots said...

Judging from those ingredients and methods u used, I bet u must be a very SKILLFUL chef! The chicken with lentil salad looks so presentable and delicious!

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels said...

a delicious savory dinner

blueberryhil said...

That chicken looks heavenly! I've never actually tried cooking bone-in chicken on the stove, but this looks like a very do-able and festive recipe.

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

Ah, I see that kimchi jjigae is very potent! =D

You must be psychic: JS had been wanting to cook chicken in venigar and lentils too!

Debinhawaii said...

I made the lentil dish from Fine Cooking a while ago and was just thinking of making it again--it was good! (And Safeway had the sausage on sale!)

BTW--I have an award and an optional meme/tag for you guys on my blog today! ;-)

Manger La Ville said...

This recipe sounds amazing. And I am glad it was nothing serious. I have thought something was seriously wrong with me, and it has been some digestive flare up. Can't wait to make this.

Debinhawaii said...

And I forgot to say I am glad you are OK!!! That isn't fun!

noobcook said...

Such a beautiful meal! I can never cook western food like this even if I tried, hehe

Camille said...

Looks fantastic! I am a huge fan of French lentil salad - such a good, hearty dish for the colder months! And that chicken sounds great. I'll be trying that ne for sure!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Delicious dishes I wish I could pick the sausages and try them now...

averagebetty said...

My sister cooks lentils all the time and I want to give it a-go! Thanks for the beautiful recipe and photos!

ask the booth said...

Oh my! It all looks amazing! I am going to try that chicken dish pronto!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Blaganniversary! That dish looks ever so scrumptious! A wonderful combo!

Cheers,

Rosa

LutheranChik said...

The lentil salad is definitely a keeper. And since I have a lonely bottle of Chateau Fontaine Michigan Pinot Gris sitting in the cellar because my partner doesn't care for wine that dry...I think the chicken recipe is in our future as well!

Susan said...

So glad you don't have to give up rich and vibrant dishes like this.
Five hours of tests would tick me off, too. ; O

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments and your well wishes! We really appreciate it. You are what makes blogging so worth it.

momgateway said...

Great recipe and very helpful post. thanks!