This recipe for Chicken Touraine gave me the opportunity return to the cookbook that is still my favorite – Recipes 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Touraine region of France – the Geline de Touraine – and it follows nicely that this dish took its name because it was originally made in Touraine with this type of chicken.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…
- 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
Brown the chicken in butter and oil, and remove and keep warm.
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.
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!