Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

French cooking

Basking Basquaise

Reflections and a Recipe: Feisty Chicken Drumstick Piperade

Some years ago, I was blessed enough not only to own a small home in a tiny village in southwestern France, I was doubly blessed to have the opportunity to visit for several months of those seven lucky years. Tucked away in the foothills of The Pyrenees and steeped in the tragic history of Le Pays Cathare, it was a tiny, pie-shaped home at the base of a crumbling old chateau in a pocket of a village called Chalabre. My French friends called it le maison du poupee, or a doll’s house. Sometimes I felt like a little doll working in it, especially working in my sliver of a kitchen with a view of rolling green hills, grazing cattle, and a tiny 16th-century church, tolling its soothing, soulful bells every hour into every day I spent there.

As much as I loved it, I would occasionally stray south of the border to neighboring Spain to buy red clay pottery, which brought me through and around Basque country. The language and dialect are unique and were foreign to my French-trained ears. Even though I couldn’t understand the language, I recognized and understood the faces of the villagers in the villages I passed through.  Rows of stooped, elderly men lining short benches at the edges of cafes, sun-leathered faces and age-withered lips barely clinging to their omnipresent Gauloises cigarettes, and little old ladies clinging to well-used thatched baskets, hobbling through winding, ancient streets in floral, wrapped aprons on the way to the daily marche,  all spoke to the time-worn traditions of the place.

Among other things, Basque country is home to the French Basque “piperade” (pronounced pip-errr-ahd), which derives its name from the French Gascon word for pepper, or “piper.” Traditionally, it is comprised primarily of peppers, onions and tomatoes, to mimic the red, green and white colors of the Basque flag. Because peppers have been haunting me for the past two months, both at supermarkets and farmer stands, I’ve been cooking quite a bit with them. Their diversity is growing, both in color and heat, and I enjoyed combining a bit of sweet and heat in this recipe, which is just hot enough to make you pucker, and sweet enough (with a dash of honey) to make you smile. I skipped tomatoes in this version, since I didn’t have any at home. Feel free to add one or two, coarsely chopped, after adding the chicken stock. It’s finished with a spray of fresh basil and parsley, and is as lovely served hot, as it is room temp or even cool for a picnic. Serve as is, or over rice, polenta, grits or creamy mashed potatoes.

Recipe

Feisty Chicken Drumstick Piperade – the perfect summer dish.

 

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 large chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 pounds)

kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 3/4 cups mixed color sweet, baby bell peppers (about 8 total), halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 large banana pepper, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 large jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and very finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons

2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon local or wild honey

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon each, finely chopped fresh basil and parsley

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Pat dry the chicken drumsticks (or substitute same size pieces of other cuts of the chicken). Heat the 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven (or another sturdy, oven-proof pot) over medium high. Season the chicken generously on one side with the salt and pepper and 1/2 of the oregano. When sizzling, add the chicken, seasoned side down in a single layer, in the butter and oil. Brown until golden, about four minutes. Turn the chicken, and season the uncooked side with salt and pepper and remaining oregano. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Drain off the cooking fat. Add a fresh tablespoon of olive oil, heat over medium low. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and pepper, stir and cook until just softened, about two minutes. Add the sweet peppers, banana pepper and jalapeno, season lightly with salt and pepper, stir, and continue cooking over medium low until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic, lime juice, orange juice and crushed red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and reduce liquids by half. Add the honey,  chicken stock and return the browned chicken to the pan, in a single layer. Bring up to a boil, cover, and place the pot in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken once. Remove the lid and return to the oven, baking another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and beginning to pull from the bone. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the chicken from the pot, reserving warm. Return the pot to the stove, and reduce the liquid by half, simmering over medium high for 6 to 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. At the last minute, add the fresh basil and parsley. Return the chicken to the pot and heat through. Serve immediately or cool, refrigerate overnight, and serve the next day hot, room temperature or chilled.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking Engagement and Book Signing

Holly’s looking forward to heading upstate to visit with SC State University students and talk with them about publishing, writing, marketing cookbooks and answer general questions from the audience. After, she’ll sign books from 11 a.m. – noon, which is open to students as well as the general public (details below). Later, she’ll enjoy being interviewed by the media students for their on site television program/studio.

Soups and Stews (my favorite of all of my books in this series) gets a new cover, too, showcasing the talents of photographer Chia Chong.

Soups and Stews (my favorite of all of my books in this series) gets a new cover, too, showcasing the talents of photographer Chia Chong.

New Covers for The French Cook Series Cookbooks

Fresh Cookbook Faces

Happily,  publisher Gibbs Smith, has decided to re-vamp the covers on all of the books in the French Cook series. The signature bright colors will remain under fresh new covers that will showcase the gorgeous photography in each book, and also eliminate the pesky plastic wrap that made it hard for cookbook shoppers to see what’s within these beautiful pages. Here’s a sneak preview of what will be hitting bookstore and internet shelves in the next few weeks.

New cover art for The French Cook Cream Puffs and Eclairs. Photography by Alexandra DeFurio.

New cover art for The French Cook Cream Puffs and Eclairs. Photography by Alexandra DeFurio.

Soups and Stews (my favorite of all of my books in this series) gets a new cover, too, showcasing the talents of photographer Chia Chong.

Soups and Stews (my favorite of all of my books in this series) gets a new cover, too, showcasing the talents of photographer Chia Chong.

Photographer Steven Rothfeld's work shines in this book, full of inspiring, easy to use classical French sauces and variations.

Photographer Steven Rothfeld’s work shines in this book, full of inspiring, easy to use classical French sauces and variations.

Author Greg Patent makes a stunning case for the art of sure-fire souffle artistry, matched with lovely photographs by Kelly Gorham.

Author Greg Patent makes a stunning case for the art of sure-fire souffle artistry, matched with lovely photographs by Kelly Gorham.

I hope you will love the new look. Please write and let me know your thoughts.

As always, bon appetit and happy cooking!

Holly

 

Boeuf a la Bourguignonne and a Cookbook Giveaway

The creme de la creme of French stews, really nothing tops this beloved classic stew for flavor and presentation. And, it’s suprisingly easy to make. It’s all outlined here in my recent post on The Permanent Tourist Charleston. Enjoy!

http://charleston.thepermanenttourist.com/boeuf-bourguignonne-a-french-stew-classic-and-cookbook-giveaway/

Here’s some visual stimulation for you!

From The French Cooks - Soups & Stews (Gibbs Smith) by Holly Herrick. Photo by Chia Chong.

From The French Cooks – Soups & Stews (Gibbs Smith) by Holly Herrick. Photo by Chia Chong.

Don’t forget to chime in to try and wine a copy of my latest cookbook. Details at the end of the post link (above).

As always – bon appetit!

Soup and Stew Season Has Arrived!

Hello friends,

So sorry to have been absent most of this week. House sale pending and visiting guests deemed getting to the computer nearly impossible.

I want to clue you in on this fabulous recipe from recently released The French Cook: Soups & Stews (Gibbs Smith, September 1, 2014). It’s absolutely one of my favorites because it is so delicious and fragrant, and as stews go, relatively quick to make. Here’s the link to my recent post on charleston.thepermanenttourist.com:

http://charleston.thepermanenttourist.com/cool-weather-calls-for-cocotte-coddled-stew/

Here’s a picture:

Chicken Braised in Pinot Gris with Leeks, Mushrooms and finished with Dijon Mustard.

Chicken Braised in Pinot Gris with Leeks, Mushrooms and finished with Dijon Mustard.

 

Please come visit me at my upcoming signing at Goat.Sheep.Cow. at the corner of Broad and Church Street in Charleston on Saturday, October 4, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Soup samples, fun and books will all be available.

Until then, bon appetit!

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