Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Weekly Recipe: Chicken Touraine

This recipe for Chicken Touraine gave me the opportunity return to the cookbook that is still my favoriteRecipes from the Maine Kitchen, by the Cancer Community Center.  This is another great example of a recipe from this cookbook that enabled me to use up some ingredients (sour cream and mushrooms, specifically) that would have otherwise gone bad.  I halved the recipe, which is for 6-8 people, and it made dinner for two, two nights in a row.

As I was cooking, I became intrigued by the name – Touraine.  It had the sound of a dish with a history, and so I dedicated a bit of time to research.  I didn’t find a single source for cohesive, definitive information, but I did find enough bits and pieces to logically assemble them myself.  On the most basic level, there is a breed of poultry historically raised in the Touraine region of France – the Geline de Touraine – and it follows nicely that this dish took its name because it was originally made in Touraine with this type of chicken.  The Geline de Touraine was nearly wiped out in World War I and again in World War II, but the dedication of breed enthusiast Jean-Baptiste Martin before and after World I, and of other poultry hobbyists after World War II, saved the Geline de Touraine.

The Touraine region in France (which is bordered by the Maine province to the north) has a long and colorful history, and today is known for its viticulture and the beautiful chateaux that are popular tourist attractions.  Tours is connected to Paris by the TGV (high-speed rail), which takes less than an hour, making the region popular for those who work in the capital but prefer a different lifestyle.  And now, to return to the business of making the dish…

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. chicken pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can (32 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon flour
Chopping onion... with my glass of wine handy.

Chopping onion… with my glass of wine handy.

Brown the chicken in butter and oil, and remove and keep warm.

Browning the chicken.

Browning the chicken.

Brown the onion, then add tomatoes, wine, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer an additional 20 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook 10 minutes.  Combine sour cream and flour and stir into the stew.  Heat thoroughly.

Preparing to dig in...

Preparing to dig in…

Recommended side dishes are crispy French bread and a simple salad. (Personally, I very much enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay with it).

While I made this stew in the springtime, I think it would be a great fall or winter dish because of its hearty nature.  I added a few shallots, just because I had them and was a little short on onion.  I can’t judge if they added or detracted from the dish, because this was my first time making it, but I will say it was delicious.  I devoured every bit of my serving and went back for more!

Happy Friday, all!


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Weekly Recipe: Libby’s Lemon Chicken

This recipe is one I’ve wanted to try since first flipping through my cookbook, Maine Home Cooking.  It spoke to me for a number of reasons: first, although its name is certainly not connected to my Aunt Libby, I can’t read the title without it calling her to mind (she passed away of breast cancer when I was 14, and was a very special woman); second, the ingredient list includes several favorites of mine (capers, white wine, and lemon); and third, I love any chicken dish that requires me to flour and fry the chicken lightly before baking in a sauce.  These inevitably seem to turn out well!

The recipe can be found on page 90 and serves 5-6.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons capers with juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • several stalks of parsley, finely minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice each piece of boneless chicken horizontally.  Put the slices between two pieces of waxed paper and pound them gently with a mallet or rolling pin.  Toss together the flour, salt, and pepper and dip each piece in the mixture, shaking off the excess.  Put a little olive oil in a heavy skillet and make it quite hot.  Cook the chicken slices for 3-4 minutes per side, and remove them to a baking dish.

Chicken in the hot skillet

Chicken in the hot skillet

Add the capers and wine to the pan and cook until you can scrape up the little stuck-on bits.  Pour it over the chicken in the baking dish and lay the lemon slices over the chicken.

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Put the chicken in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Lay the chicken on a platter, pour the juices over it, distribute the lemon slices, and sprinkle with parsley.

The lemon slices really make this dish visually appealing.

The lemon slices really make this dish visually appealing.

I made this recipe for my in-laws first night in town over Easter weekend.  As sides, I roasted red potatoes and sauteed asparagus.  The chicken was tender and flavorful (although it could have benefitted from slightly more salt and pepper!), and all in all, the meal received rave reviews.  It was also a pretty easy, straightforward recipe that gave me the opportunity to indulge in a glass of wine.

Time to enjoy!

Time to enjoy!