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Touraine region of France – the Geline de Touraine – and it follows nicely that this dish took its name because it was originally made in Touraine with this type of chicken.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: North Shore Potatoes

As promised, today’s weekly recipe comes from another Maine cookbook!  In this case, I selected a recipe from The Maine Collection, a cookbook by the Portland Museum of Art, and it did not disappoint.

This North Shore Potatoes recipe seemed an appropriate follow up to my HoME Grown post on the Maine Potato (which for some reason posted with a date of December 3rd, my apologies!), and while it’s not a great example of a healthy potato recipe, it is delicious.  It can be found on page 81 and it serves 6 people.  You’ll need:

  • 6 medium potatoes, boiled
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil potatoes and store in the fridge until cool enough to peel.

Peelin' potatoes!

Peelin’ potatoes!

Melt butter and cheese together (I recommend buying shredded Cheddar to save time).  Add sour cream, salt, pepper, and onion, and stir until blended.  Peel and grate the potatoes, and add to other ingredients.  Mix together and put in a casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  I also added some additional Cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs for a tasty topping.

This recipe was outstanding – it went well with fish the first night and perfectly with steak the next night.

Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

The Maine Collection was initially printed in 1993 and was sponsored by the Portland Museum of Art Guild.  Proceeds from its sales went toward the restoration of the McLellan-Sweat House, now a historic house museum, which was originally constructed in 1801 by shipping magnate Major Hugh McLellan.  The Mansion is an exceptional example of Federal style architecture, and while the restoration took longer than anticipated, the Portland Museum of Art re-opened this space to the public in October 2002.

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If interested, Amazon does list this cookbook for sale!


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Weekly Recipe: Gruyere Chicken (and a side dish!)

On Sunday evening, we invited a family over for dinner – we’ve become close with them over the last several years, as my husband has been a mentor to their son (also named Nick) since he coached him in soccer as a freshman in high school. Now, ‘little Nick,’ as I call him – although he’s probably over 6′ feet tall – is half way through his freshman year of college studying architecture at Washington University in St. Louis.  The entire family is wonderful – Nick and his younger sister, Annika, are both friendly, considerate, intelligent, polite, bilingual (the benefit of having a German father) – exactly the type of children most parents hope to have (not to say Nick hasn’t had his missteps – but frankly, I’d rather have a child who does test the limits a bit). Their parents, Jane and Klaus-Dieter, are also lovely, and they have hosted us at their home many times.  I can attest to what a fabulous cook Jane is.

I decided to make the Gruyere Chicken Dish from – you guessed it – my favorite cookbook, Recipes from the Maine Kitchen.  I promise (promise, promise) that my next ‘Weekly Recipe’ will come from one of my other Maine cookbooks – I just truly love this one that much!  This recipe was perfect for the occasion because it is easy to cook in a large amount – the original recipe is for 12!  And it is delicious.  After all, how could something with both gruyere and parmesan cheese go wrong?  I also took the cookbook’s recommendation and made parsleyed orzo as a side dish, in addition to a green salad.  I’ll share that recipe as well.

This recipe is on page 117.  The quantities below are for 12 servings:

6 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 halves)

Flour and butter

8+ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided in half

4 large onions, chopped

2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

1 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

(I would back off a little on the wine and chicken stock – it’s a little liquidy for me – I’d recommend 3/4 cup of wine, 1 cup chicken stock)

Flour the chicken breasts and melt butter in a large skillet.  Brown the chicken breasts and set aside.  In the same skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and saute the onions until golden.

Flouring the chicken

Flouring the chicken

Mix together the Parmesan cheese, Gruyere cheese, paprika, and breadcrumbs.

Butter a large casserole dish, large enough for the chicken to be placed in one layer (you may need two dishes).  Preheat the oven to 375.  Layer half of the onions into the bottom of the casserole, and place the browned chicken on top.  Cover with remaining onions, and sprinkle the cheese mixture on top.  Dot with 4 tablespoons of butter.  Mix the wine and chicken stock together and drizzle over the dish.  Bake uncovered for one hour, and let rest in the oven at 200 degrees for an additional 15-20 minutes.

The parsleyed orzo recipe is on page 79.  I’d never made it before, but I have to say, it was excellent.  It smelled delicious and browned up beautifully.  My mistake was not adding quite enough salt and pepper during the mixing process.

1 lb. orzo

6 garlic cloves, whole (peeled)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided by 3/4 and 1/4

1 1/4 cups parsley, chopped, divided by 1 cup and 1/4 cup

4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

Boil orzo with the garlic for 10 minutes and drain in colander.  Rinse with cold water.  Remove garlic and mash with fork.  Whisk garlic with cream, add orzo, chicken stock, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.

Mixing!

Mixing!

Pour into a buttered, 2 quart baking dish.  Mix breadcrumbs with remaining Parmesan cheese and parsley, sprinkle over orzo and dot with butter.  Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes in the oven at 325 (this baking time may be a bit long – next time, in my oven, I’ll go with about an hour and 15 minutes).

Our dinner party was a success, and everyone gave the Gruyere Chicken Dish rave reviews.  My hubby and I are about to enjoy the leftovers, so it’s time to relax!

Yum!

Yum!