Rustic Poule au Pot is a boiled chicken recipe passed from mother to daughter. The chicken broth is served as its own course, a tradition called "chabrot." The last ladles of broth are slurped directly from the bowl; adults stir in some red wine before drinking. "It's an 'elbows-on-the-table' dish," says Ariane. "It inspires conviviality."
Poule au Pot with "Gros Sel" Sauce
8 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3-1/2- to 4-pound whole broiler-fryer chicken, trussed*
4 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
12 small carrots with tops
6 medium leeks, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
1 head Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into quarters
1 recipe Gros Sel Sauce (see below)
1 1-pound loaf country French bread
In an 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven combine chicken stock, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling; add chicken. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Add turnips, carrots, leeks, celery, and cabbage. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more or until chicken is done (170°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh) and vegetables are tender.
Transfer vegetables to a large serving platter using a slotted spoon; cover to keep warm. Remove chicken to another platter; cover to keep warm. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Return broth to the Dutch oven (discard solids in strainer). Bring broth to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut chicken into quarters or six portions (discard back bone); cover to keep warm.
Prepare Gros Sel Sauce. Serve chicken with bread and vegetables and Gros Sel Sauce. Serve strained broth separately. If desired, spoon a little of the broth atop each serving. Makes: 4 to 6 servings
"Gros Sel" Sauce: In a blender combine 1/4 cup of the strained, reduced broth, 1/4 cup sherry vinegar; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh tarragon, chives, and/or chervil; and 1 tablespoon coarse-grain Dijon-style mustard. Cover and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add 1 cup grape seed oil or canola oil in a thin stream, blending until well combined (mixture will thicken and lighten in color as it blends). Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped. Season to taste with kosher, sea salt, or salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Makes about 2 cups.
* To truss the chicken, secure the legs, wings and front and back openings of the chicken with clean white kitchen string. If desired, tuck some of the herb sprigs under the string.