Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poulet Nicoise BKA Southern Chicken 'N' Olives

I get really excited every time I get the latest Williams-Sonoma catalog in the mail. Not so much because I covet all the lovelies inside, but for the awesome recipes, which they have online too, plus more. Here's one I've been eyein for a while. Just wanted to wait until springtime to make it, and well, as of last Friday, springtime is officially here. Thank the lord.

WS calls it Poulet Nicoise, and that makes it sound all fancy and stuff, but after I made the recipe, I looked around online to see if there were other variations, and lo and behold, lots of cooks out there are calling this nearly-the-same recipe Southern Chicken with Olives – only difference is that they're making it with fatback, which makes my heart melt, and some without the yellow squash.

This is the Williams-Sonoma version that I made:

Poulet Nicoise
1 chicken, about 3 lb., cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 c olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 yellow squash, about 1 1/2 lb. total, quartered and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 c dry white wine

3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

5 plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1/4 c dry-cured black olives, pitted
1 1/4 c chicken stock

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the squash, wine, 2 tbsp of the parsley and 2 tsp of the tarragon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes, olives and stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp parsley and 1 tsp tarragon. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Here is another, with salt pork.

I used cherry tomatoes instead of plum, and also didn't have dry-cured olives so I used kalamatas instead. The fresh herbs really make this dish, so that's the way to go, plus they're pretty. As for the squash, it's sweet and subtle in a really nice way, and white wine and yellow squash complement one another perfectly, plus it's sunny and yellow and bright. I wouldn't make it without. Sooo delish. I know bone-in chicken imparts more flavor, but really, how much I wonder. The bones are a little buggin'. I think I may try it next time without. I'm on the fence. Never hurts to try I spose.