Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cooking Paris Part 1: Roast Chicken and Croutons

After grading literary criticism papers for the last four hours, I finally threw down my pen and trekked off to the kitchen for a little time with Ina.  Tonight: Zucchini Vichyssoise from Barefoot in Paris.  For all of us who don't know, vichyssoise is a French pureed soup, made with leeks or onions and potatoes and chicken stock (I looked it up).  This recipe adds zucchini for the fresh taste, and as "a great way to use up those enormous zucchinis from the garden" that I don't have.  Not even in the summer.  In fact, I've killed at least four separate basil plants by now.  That was the extent of my garden, before it withered and crackled up into dried basil confetti--all four times.  Happily, though, the local grocer does stock up on zucchini for just such an occasion.  Here's the soup. 
To be honest, I'm a little underwhelmed.  There's nothing particularly exciting or special about it.  In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't precisely follow the recipe.  You see the greenish hue the soup has taken on?  This can be directly attributed to two factors.  First, I put in additional leeks.  I'm not sure how far beyond the five called-for cups I went, but I just hate to have those lingering extras that I tupperware up and stick in the fridge, knowing in my heart of hearts that I'll never use.  Poor lonely leeks in the back of the fridge.  So--into the pot they went!  Secondly, the recipe called for white boiling potatoes, and all I had access to were red ones.  I believe the red of the skins added to the less than creamy color of the vichyssoise, too.  So, there it is.

On a much more exciting recipe note, last week I cooked Lemon Chicken with Croutons, from the same book.  I'm telling you right now, you must make this dish.  It was lip smackingly delicious!  Typically, my experience has been that I never really love the dishes that I cook as much as I would if someone else had cooked them for me.  They're all right, and other people often like them--but after all that time in the kitchen, I'm just not very impressed or excited.

This was not the case with the chicken.  I couldn't get over myself and the chicken and the caramelized onions and the croutons.
The gist of the recipe (found in full here) is that you slice up an onion, cover with olive oil and place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Then, you quarter two lemons, put them in the chicken, and place the chicken on top of the onions.  Season the chicken and roast!  While the chicken is sitting (post roasting), make croutons.  When you drizzle the chicken with the onions and drippings from the pan, they soak into the croutons and make a sort of instant stuffing.  Oh so good.  I highly suggest upping the onions to at least two, as that was my favorite part.

Super simple and scrumptious.  Bon appetit!


  1. I think I might be ordering this cookbook soon. You make it sound so easy and good.

    LOVE your blog.

  2. Yep--she's ordering it, and we'll join in your Barefoot in Paris adventure. BTW, added red does not incline the whole toward green.
    -your color scientist father