Oh Mon Dieu! C’est Poulet à la Provençale!

I made chicken Provençal for dinner tonight and it was a smash hit! If I hadn’t stuffed myself on the actual dinner, I’d have licked the baking dish clean, too! Oh sweet baby jesus! This is the best chicken I’ve ever tasted! How the hell have I gone my whole life not knowing this beautiful melody of flavors on my palette?!

Chicken5

Let me start out by saying how easy this is to make, and I really mean that! The hardest part of making it is the basting. It’s simple and bursting with flavor. I served it over a bed of plain polenta, with chunks of baguette on the side to mop up the sauce with.

Chicken2

I don’t normally enjoy dark meat chicken, but I just don’t think this dish would be the same with breasts. The dark meat works so well and it doesn’t come out feeling overly greasy and yucky, even though this dish is heavy on the oil, because the skin gets crispy.

Chicken4

The next time I make this, I want to try it with Cornish game hens. I bet this would work fantastically with them! I think splitting them down the back and laying them flat in the pan would keep them from drying out on one side while staying soggy on the other. Don’t be surprised if you see me post an update with Cornish game hens used in this recipe.

Chicken1

There is one thing I’d like to make note of about this recipe: Don’t be afraid to use extra of ANYTHING (except the flour.) If it doesn’t look right, add more. If your liquid has evaporated off halfway through the roasting time, add more. Consider any amounts listed in this recipe as mere guidelines. It’s better to err on the side of more rather than less. Trust me!

Ingredients:
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper
AT LEAST 2 Tbsp herbes de Provence
olive oil
vermouth
one head of garlic
2-3 medium to large shallots
1 preserved lemon
1 fresh lemon
4-6 chicken leg quarters

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 425F.
2) Pat your chicken pieces dry if they seem wet. Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour and pat/brush off any excess. You want your chicken lightly coated with it. Too much flour will leave you with a raw flour taste at the end.
3) Peel all the cloves from your head of garlic. You can chop the larger cloves in half if you’d like.
4) Quarter your shallots and your preserved lemon.
5) Drizzle olive oil in your oversized baking dish or large roasting pan and tilt it around until the oil has completely covered the bottom of the dish. Try to use a pan or dish that is deep. If you can’t, a baking sheet (with raised sides) will work, but please note that the lower the sides of your dish are, the more liquid will evaporate.
6) Place your chicken pieces skin side down in your baking dish, leaving room between them. Do not crowd the chicken, or your skin will not get crispy. Place your lemon slices around the chicken on the outside edge of the dish, and tuck your cloves of garlic and shallots around, between, and slightly under your chicken pieces.
7) Season your chicken liberally with herbes de Provence.
8) Gently pour the vermouth along the edge of the dish, so as to not rinse the herbs off the top of your chicken. You want to put enough vermouth in that you have about a half-inch to an inch of vermouth.
9) Bake for 1 hour total, basting every 15 minutes, and flipping the chicken pieces at the 30 minute mark. When you flip the chicken, you’ll want to add more herbes de Provence to the top of the chicken.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over your chicken pieces and serve the chicken over a bed of polenta with chunks of baguette to sop up the sauce with.

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