~ The Long French Lunch ~
Poulet Nomade ~ Nomad’s Chicken
(Herb Poached Chicken in a Jar)
Yes, it’s still raining, even in France where I am now for the summer……each day brings more shades of grey, and different levels of drizzle and dampness…….We’ve had ONE sunny day, when I had the picnic at the bottom of the garden, and enjoyed a Pan Bagnat for lunch…..and there is still the need for duvets on the bed! But, if there is one thing that I can still enjoy, it’s the Long French Lunch, albeit inside and at the kitchen table. The Long French Lunch……the first one I enjoyed in France was about 8 or 9 years ago, we met some friends for lunch at a little port village called Port Maubert, and the restaurant in question was L’Écluse; a fabulous unpretentious restaurant specialising in seafood and fish, especially caviar and sturgeon caught in the Gironde estuary, on which the port sits. We met our friends at Midday; we being me and my husband and my parents who were visiting us from England. We were a large party of 14, and we rather took over the outside terrace, sitting at an assortment of odd-shaped tables pushed together on the wooden decking and right by the estuary. We had aperitifs for an hour whilst we pondered over the menu ~ which is simply de rigueur in France!
The menu at the time, as I remember it, offered three or four appetisers, three main course options as well as a cheese board and choice of three or four desserts…..so not a huge amount to choose from but enough to need two or three Pastis to make the correct culinary decisions! They were famous for their seafood buffet as one of the appetiser options ~ an amazing array of fresh seafood including oysters, mussels, clams, razer clams, prawns, whelks, cockles and also roll-mop herrings too. I chose the buffet option followed by the fish of day, which was fresh sturgeon cooked over wood and was absolutely delectable ~ served simply with a huge baked potato and a slab of local salted butter. The cheeseboard was something to behold ~ an enormous wooden plank that was the size of a ship’s rudder, on which there were at least TWENTY types of French cheese…….and bizarrely nestled amongst the cheese were tiny plastic goats and cows ~ they looked like they had been stolen from a child’s toy farmyard set and they set me off laughing hysterically ~ just the sight of assorted plastic goats mounting a slab of artisan Chèvre and stumbling over a wedge of Camembert was just too much to take ~ or maybe I was just a little giddy due to the pastis and wine?
Each course was beautifully cooked and presented and the whole lunch took us FOUR hours……..absolute bliss ~ no waiters hovering around and breathing down your neck, nobody constantly asking “if everything is okay” even though you know they couldn’t care less half the time and all they want is your table……just simple, old-fashioned hospitality with really amazing local, freshly cooked food ~ and served with quiet efficiency. Anyway enough about that for now, I decided to cook the following recipe today, as per my meal plan on Monday, it’s a chicken dish, as I bought a rather enticing Red Label chicken yesterday, and my plan is that whilst the weather continues to be foul, or should I say fowl (sorry!) we are going to enjoy a Long French Lunch at home……
This recipe for potted chicken ~ Nomad’s chicken, is JUST fabulous; I found this recipe in a French magazine, (Femme Actuelle) whilst waiting in the doctor’s surgery, and yes I did tear the page out of the magazine ~ but I did ask! It’s such a great idea for portable chicken, hence its name. Chicken breasts are poached in a court-bouillon broth with garlic and thyme; the chicken is then mixed with fresh chèvre (goat’s cheese) and artichokes and is popped into a kilner jar with a little flavoured oil. Eh voila! It is ready to pack into a hamper for a picnic. C’est parfait! Serve this wonderful moist chicken salad mixture with crusty baguette or artisan bread, using the flavoured oil for dipping and dunking. This can be stored once cooked in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. (In the sealed kilner jar.) If you have fresh artichokes available, use them in preference to tinned ones.
I served this for lunch today at the kitchen table ~ it’s raining again as I mentioned before, so no chance of an “al fresco” meal. We ate it with crusty baguette, fresh tomatoes and spring onion, and by the way, we DID eat this in the manner of a Long French Lunch, with wooden serving platters and glasses of chilled Chardonnay, almost like an indoor picnic ~ with no sense of urgency, I hope you enjoy this recipe if you try it……….a bientôt! Karen.
Have you ever enjoyed a Long French Lunch?
If so, was it in France or at home for Sunday Lunch?