“I am drinking champagne alone, on a Monday night, in bed”
I know I am reading the words of a kindred spirit.
So began Jenny’s blog post on Vincent Price’s Poularde Pavillon aka Chicken in Champagne Sauce. I was therefore delighted to see that this was one of the recipes that Jenny had chosen for us to cook as part of the Vincent Price Cookalong.
So, if you’d read my last post you’d know I’d brunched like the King of the Grand Guignol himself on a Buckingham Eggs Jaffle. A few hours later, on what turned into Vincent Price Sunday, I was ready to take on the main event. Here ’tis:
If my chicken looks a bit weird it’s because it was a butterflied one I had in the freezer. It tasted lovely but just did not have the classic appearance of a normal roast chicken. The recipe calls for the chicken to be trussed and, in a moment of dumbarseness I got out my kitchen twine ready to do the necessary. Then paused. How do you truss a chicken with no bones? Short answer you don’t.
To tell the truth, I was a bit narky with this recipe when making it. Basically because I am terribly lazy and Doctor Who was on the telly. Walking the maybe ten steps from the couch to the oven (voice of the pedant – 9 steps) every 8 minutes to baste the chicken seemed like a bit of a palaver at the time. In retrospect those 56 steps were utterly worth it. The chicken was beautifully tender and cooked to perfection. And the champagne sauce went perfectly with the sides of steamed asparagus and roasted potatoes.
The sauce, as also noted by Jenny is much more than what you need for the chicken. She was going to try freezing hers. I had mine over pasta with the leftover veg and some steamed broccoli and beans the following night and it was…..
Just kidding, it was deeeelicious.
The Chicken in Champagne Sauce was a lovely classic, and elegant, way to finish the weekend! If the two recipes I have cooked are any reflection on the rest of the book, then I totally understand why Jenny sings its praises so highly.
So, although it is not Monday and I am not in bed, I am alone and drinking a little champagne toast to Jenny and, of course, to Vincent and Mary Price and their fabulous book. (And in an “it’s all about me” side note, OMG!!!!! You have no idea how long it took to get an even half way decent photo of me trying to concurrently do a wink like the little girl in my sign off logo and raise the champagne glass and take a selfie. Half of them looked like I was heavily sedated on anti-pyschotics and the other half looked like I needed to be. In the end I gave up and took a picture of the glass by my “movie star” mirror!
If your idea of a good time involves doing a bit more than poncing round your bedroom for HOURS looking more and more deranged with every click of the camera, there are a host of events to celebrate the release of the 50th edition of A Treasury of Great Recipes. To find out the wheres and whens, click on the links below:
It seemed quite appropriate that I made my Pieathalon pie on Eurovison weekend. After all, my pie was a Belgian Onion Pie with French Pastry Dough. And in 1974 ABBA won Eurovision with their song Waterloo which draws its inspiration from the site in BELGIUM where the Brits defeated the FRENCH army lead by Napoleon.
The coincidence is almost spooky.
But would this pie take me down like a diminutive French General? Or, like a bearded drag queen was I going to “rise like a phoenix” to Euro glory?
And I Have Met My Destiny (In Quite A Similar Way)
A few weeks ago, the lovely Yinzarella put out the call and 19 bloggers answered. We were going to take part in a global event to rival Eurovision, Pieathalon 2.
The History Book on The Shelf (Is Always Repeating Itself)
My recipe, which came from S.S. over at A Book of Cookrye is taken from The Cotton Country Collection from 1972:
Which looks and sounds like it comes more from the Mississippi Delta than any field in Flanders I ever saw. Which is fine, I just finished reading Miss Hazel and The Rosa Parkes League for bookclub. I’m feel like I’m down with the M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter….
I also recently made a French Apple Flan, so my credentials for France are also solid.
I have driven through Belgium on a bus.
I have watched “InBruges“. Twice.
They have waffles. And chocolate. And smurfs.
And that’s pretty much the sum total of my knowledge about Belgium. If there’s going to be a weak link here, it’s bound to be Belgium…is Pieathalon going to be my Waterloo?
My, My, I Tried To Hold You Back (But You Were Stronger)
I feel like the The French Pie dough recipe is very French. And by that I mean both annoyingly pedantic in some details (Triple sifting flour? Really?) and then just gives a big Gallic shrug and leaves others mostly up to your imagination. The implication being if you are that much of a dummy to not know what spices and liquid to use in your pie dough, you probably shouldn’t be making pie dough.
My imagination told me to use a pack of French Onion Soup Mix for both – a spoonful of the dry mix as my dough spice, then make up the rest of the soup and chill it down for my liquid.
My imagination is a psychopath.
The soup mix made the pastry quite salty. If I had added more salt by adding the soup, I’m pretty sure it would have become inedible. So, after a moment of panic and some highly creative swearing I used some pear cider as my liquid. Purely because I happened to be drinking it at the time of making.
And you know what? It worked!!! Really well. The sweetness took out some of the salt and I think the bubbles helped to make the pastry really light and crisp.
I loved this pastry. It had a real French Onion Soup flavour. I am going to make it again but into “cheese” straws to have with dip. And I will probably use Pear Cider as my go to chilled liquid again too!
Now to the first way I “tweaked” this recipe…you may know that have a weakness for small round food. I’m also very much of the mind that more is more. So, why make one pie when you can make a lot of pies?
And Now It Seems My Only Chance Is Giving Up The Fight
I was actually pretty confident with the filling. Because pastry is the hard part of any pie right? And honestly, I nailed that French pie dough like a….like a….French hammer…Yeah…just like that. (Note to self, find some better metaphors).
So bring on the filling….
First up -looking at this very cute picture made me think the pie was baked in onions. I’m not actually sure HOW you would bake a pie in an onion but I do know I want to find out. Another entry into the bucket list of weird food I want to make. I think it also may have sub-conciously influenced my idea to make party-sized pies instead of one big one.
Then? Chopping three large onions? There were tears before bedtime. Then I weighed the butter. Half a pound of butter seemed like an awful lot. I checked my measurements from ounces to grams and weighed it again. No, my measurements were right and that was still a, pardon me for using a very technical baking term, a shit ton of butter.
Suddenly my mountain of onions seemed like barely a hill next to that Everest of butter. In the end, I couldn’t do it. That skyscraper of butter was too overwhelming. I cut off about a third of it and stuck that back in the fridge. I felt really bad about this because I had wanted to follow the recipe exactly. But I was convinced this was just wrong.
And I could just add some extra butter if I needed, right?
Then I started to saute my onions. I was a bit worried that the onions would suck all the butter up and it would be too dry. It seemed ok when the onions were sautéing, however once I added the flour the butter problem became apparent….
Far from being too little butter there was still too much. WAY too much…it was pooling everywhere…
I made the decision to tip some more butter out….turned out to be about another two tablespoons.
I was kind of worried about doing this but as soon as I added the milk and cream, it all came together perfectly and I knew I had made the right decision. Look how lovely and smooth the filling looks.
I only had filling for ten little Belgian onion pies so I ate the additional pie shells. That pastry was awesome!!!!
And half an hour later they came out like this. Puffed up, golden brown, the Belgian Onion Pie babies looked like little golden buttercups!!!
I was so happy with these. And not only were the baby Belgian Onion Pies so pretty to look at, they were delicious too – the light crisp pastry, the creamy filling, they were gorgeous!!!! And they tasted just like French Onion Soup!
You could almost say they were souper!
Gahhh…….Thankfully, the Belgian Onion pies tasted better than my puns!!!!!
I Feel Like I Win….
So despite a couple of hiccups, Pieathalon 2 was a total success.
Huge thanks to S.S. for the recipe and Yinzerella for the opportunity. I LOVED it! Here is my slightly twisted Muriels Wedding thanks to you both:
“I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to ABBA songs. But since I’ve met you and moved to Sydney joined in Pieathalon , I haven’t listened to one Abba song. That’s because my life is as good as an Abba song. It’s as good as Dancing Queen”
High praise indeed!
And as a fitting finale to this Pieathalon, Ladies, Gentlemen…bring out your best moves and your favourite satin jumpsuit and join me, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths in a little celebration of all things Pieathalon. Feel free to sing along with my ever so slightly modified lyrics below as you bust a synchronised move…
Pieathalon, Belgian pie with butter galore,
Pieathlon, promise to love you for ever more
Pieathalon, couldn’t escape if I wanted to,
Pieathalon, Knowing my fate is to be with you,
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Pieathalon,
Finally facing Pieathalon!”
The entire list of bloggers and pies are here. Please check ’em all out but check out Sarah who made my Fiesta Almond Peach Pie recipe first!