Monday, June 11, 2012

Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence - Heavily Adapted

Along with others, Mary over at One Perfect Bite just finished a year-long series on the fifty most influential women in the food world which began with Julia Child.  I enjoyed learning about them and decided a way to improve my cooking skills would be to not only make the dishes that Mary made but to try and adapt them for the grill - the savory dishes only.

The first one up was Julia Child’s Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence and I just happened to have a 3# chicken in the freezer.  I decided to stay with a simple cooking technique (sautéed in Mary’s post) and make the dish mostly about making the sauce and a good presentation.  Please drop by Mary's site at the above link for her recipe and pictures.

I began with the ingredients list from Mary and show what I used in ().

3 pounds whole frying chicken
(1 branch fresh basil)
(5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme)
(2 cloves of garlic – peeled and diced)
S&P to taste
1/4 pound butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme (powder)
1 teaspoon dried basil (powder)
1/4 teaspoon dries fennel seed (ground)
(1/2 tsp.salt and several grinds of pepper)
3 cloves unpeeled garlic
2/3 cup dry white wine ( Raymond Vineyards Chardonay)
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh minced basil, fennel fronds or parsley (basil)

1. Preheat rotisserie burner on gas grill and set on medium heat.
2. Spray spit pieces with cooking spray.
3. S&P inside of chicken and add the diced garlic, thyme sprigs, and basil branch to the cavity and truss.
4. Install chicken on the spit.
5. Heat butter in a small saucepan and add dried spices, S&P. 
6. Brush butter mixture over the chicken outside.
7. Install spit on the grill and add a pan under the chicken to catch the juices.
8. Cook chicken, with the grill lid closed, until a thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of the breast, reads 165 F.  Baste with remaining butter mixture as needed - I used it all.
9. Remove the finished chicken to a cutting board, remove from spit, tent with foil, and rest while making the sauce and grilling the sides.
10. Mash garlic cloves with the back of a spoon, remove peel, and add to the pan removed from under the chicken.  Add wine and boil until reduced by half.
11. Heat egg yolks in a separate small saucepan until thick and sticky. Beat in lemon juice and wine with a whisk. Add liquid from the chicken drippings pan, a half teaspoon at a time, until a creamy mayonnaise sauce begins to form. Beat over very low heat until warm and thickened.
12. Remove from heat. Add chopped basil and adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

I used the gas grill and side burner to cook the entire meal and it worked great. 

The above shot is after I'd removed the pan and cranked up the main burners.  When everything was ready, I cut the chicken in half, arranged on a platter, spooned sauce over it, and carved to order.
We served it with grilled filet beans that Bev picked that morning, par-boiled a little and wrapped in bacon, and grilled romaine – cut in half lengthwise, brush both sides with olive oil, and grill cut side down until grill marks appear.  Flip, top with dressing and grated parmesan, and remove when grill marks appear.

I was concerned about the skin getting too done and it ended up not crispy enough, even after using the main burners at the end.  I thought it tasted very good, but believe the pan fried version would be better.  I’m not sure what the sauce would have tasted like cooked per the original recipe, but I suspect very similar to mine since I used the pan juices, which I added as needed for the right consistency – Bev thought the sauce was just okay, but I’d make it again.

I added the sauce then carved, which didn’t make for a very nice plating so I should have carved, plated, then sauced.  Plus I got too much sauce on the chicken and hid it - should have napped it with a smaller spoon (see Meakin I'm trainable) rather than the large one I used.  For my three goals:

1. Adapt a recipe to the grill - turned out pretty well
2. Make a good sauce - I was well pleased with it
3. Make a good presentation - failure and I forgot the chopped basil garnish to boot

Final comments - I really liked the green beans done this way but I prefer something besides raspberry vineigrette on the salad for presentation purposes.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  None

Two years ago:  Grilled Shrimp And Cheesy Potatoes


6/3/12 meal date


  1. I don't think Julia ever had a recipe for the grill and I'm sure she would be pleased with your adapted version Larry. Herbes de Provence is one of my favorite blends.

  2. I love this challenge you have personally set up for yourself. I can't wait to see what you do next!

  3. Looks like a fancy meal Larry and somewhat of a big project. I've never had a rotisserie attachment for any grill I've owned. I'm always impressed with someone using if and getting good results.

  4. You really are a daringcook. I never would have attempted somethinglike this, but you pulled it off.Your meal sounds delicious. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. I think it's great that you are going to try and adapt those recipes to the grill. You know me, I think everything can be done on the grill, so I know you'll do a wonderful job with it. And despite the chicken skin not getting crispy enough, everything sounded and wonderful!!

  6. Butter and egg yolks? This is one rich chicken dinner!

  7. Can't go wrong with a classic like Julia!

  8. I have a rotisserie burner on my grill and have never used it. You have inspired me to try it soon. About how long did it take to cook your 3# chicken?

  9. Nice job, Larry, I'm impressed. Such a continental meal all prepared on the grill.


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