Jun 18
Polidor in Paris

Polidor in Paris

:Sigh:

I am writing tonight with a stunning lack of inspiration.  Had I not committed to cooking my way through the Paris  Bistro cookbook I wouldn’t even write this entry.  But I did commit — and if my first post was about a ruined dinner then I can certainly write about an uninspiring meal.

This recipe is from the first bistro in the book,  Polidor, which is in the Latin Quarter.  (Their site is in French — see the Frommers Review)  The Bistro has a charming history that includes Erenest Hemmingway, James Joyce and bathrooms that are a historic monument.  You can see why I felt the recipes held great promise.  I chose to make Soupe de Potiron (Pumpkin Soup) and Pintade aux lardons et au Chou (Guinea Hens with Bacon and Cabbage).  The recipes appear on p. 21  I should note that there are other recipes from this bistro that may be better than the ones I chose.

The soup was  attractive, but bland.  Both my husband and I pushed it aside not wanting to fill up on lackluster soup before dinner.

The main course: the book suggests that you can substitute chicken for Guinea Hen and given that my local Publix caters to tourists this was a necessity.  Dannenberg also translates “chou” as kale.  After looking it up in a French dictionary (I really need to start using my Rosetta Stone, but I digress…) I saw that it could mean  “Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, coleslaw, darling, kale or sprout.”  While I’m not planning to put “my darling” in a pot anytime soon, using Brussels sprouts or cauliflower would have made a tremendous difference and most likely a better dish.  The recipe is extremely heavy on onion and calls for two cloves.  These two flavors overpowered everything else in the dish, which I found surprising.  The bitterness of Brussels sprouts (had they cooked with the chicken) probably would have balanced the sweet flavor of the cloves.  But the recipe directed me to cook the kale separately and then plate in a shallow bowl.  In a nutshell I was highly unimpressed.  As a result we are having chicken and dumplings tonight — a family favorite that I don’t think anyone could mess up!

I should mention that the highlight of the meal was the wine, we enjoyed a Sobon Estate Viognier 2007.  It was crisp and had just the right amount of fruit and acid.  I thought it was well balanced.

You’ve read my notes, if you want to try the recipes — you are on your own! LOL, but here they are.

Pumpkin Soup (excerpted from Paris Bistro Cooking p.21)

3 Cups water
1 Medium diced onion
1T Sugar
2 tsp salt
1 16oz can pumpkin puree (unflavored)
1 Cup milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sour cream or creme fraiche as garnish

In a medium saucepan bring water and onion to boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Whisk in pumpkin, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Puree the mixture in batches using a food processor or blender [hold the top of the blender and cover with a towel, hot foods expand when you puree had I not learned this tip my kitchen and I would have been doused in boiling pumpkin soup)

Return mixture to a saucepan, add the milk and heat, then season to taste and serve with sour cream or creme fraiche.

*I asked friends for suggestions pump up the soup, the most interesting was red curry paste.  I have some leftovers and I plan to try this, I think making it spicy is an interesting concept but completely different from the chef’s original intent.

Chicken with Bacon and Cabbage (excerpted from Paris Bistro Cooking p.21)

1 2lb Guinea Hen or Chicken
2 medium carrots sliced
2 medium onions sliced (I would cut this to one)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 boquet garni (1 sprig parsley, greens of one leek, one bay leaf tied in cheesecloth)
2 whole cloves (I would cut this to one)
salt and pepper
3 – 4C dry white wine
5 ounces slab bacon
2T flour
3C chicken stock
2lbs Kale

Combine the poultry, carrots, onion, garlic, boquet garni and cloves in a bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Blanch bacon in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove pat dry then saute until golden brown in a 6 quart saute pan.  Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.

Remove chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) and pat dry, brown deeply (8 minutes per side) Remove the chicken and set aside.  Drain off all but 1T of fat.  Add the flour and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add marinade [Note:  at this point the recipe lacked clarity — I assumed the onions and carrot were part of the “marinade” but perhaps they were supposed to be removed which would explain why the onion flavor was so overpowering.  The photo in the cookbook clearly shows carrots and that’s how I made my decision] cook for several minutes scraping the pan bottom.  Add chicken stock [another lack of clarity — in the book she says add chicken stock or water but the ingredient list doesn’t suggest this choice.  I used broth but perhaps water would have been better]

Return the chicken to the pot; liquid should almost cover; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of “heavily” salted water to boil.  Cook kale for 15 minutes.  Drain and cut into 1/4 inch strips.  Press out excess water and add bacon.

Dish into 4 bowls and serve.

4 Responses to “Taking a Walk on the Bland side — Paris Style”

  1. And I shall listen to TrapperDdue, aka,”CHEF”, when he says, “Fremch food? Blah!” until you convince me otherwise 🙂

  2. Chicken and dumplings sounds much better! Top that off with a nice bottle of vino and you’re all set!

    Cheers!

  3. The chicken and dumplings were very very good. And DelliciosoMama I hope to convince you on the French food – please stay with me! 🙂

  4. I love your idea (ambitious!) to go through the cookbook and love the picture. I agree, I think I’ll look for the wine and just dream about the recipe. (I also like that you are drinking a Viogner…it adds mystique!

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