Here is my version of a dish based on recipes from Huffington Post, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander and also an adaptation from Cook’s Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipes. I have adapted it to suit my own Asian style of cooking, using fresh herbs from my own garden. I like to serve it with lots of stir fried fresh green vegetables in season. In place of anchovies, I have used fish sauce to flavour the chicken.
It is a delicious, tasty dish which would be great to prepare and serve in winter, too. After a day of skiing on the slopes of Mt Buller in the Australian winter, I can just imagine coming back to prepare this food and enjoy this lovely, hearty meal.
6 chicken drumsticks, skin and bone removed, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon fish sauce and 1 tablespoon safflower oil to marinate the chicken
4 fresh small tomatoes chopped up into small pieces so they practically dissolve into the chicken provencale
1 onion, slice into small pieces about 1cm by 1cm or about ¼ inch by ¼ inch
1 carrot, chopped up into tiny pieces or grated to sweeten the food
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Safflower oil for cooking as required
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
4 stems of fresh flat leaf Italian parsley – separate the leaves from the stems and chop each separately
Marinate the chicken with the fish sauce/safflower oil for about 20 minutes.
Heat up a teaspoon of safflower oil in a wok.
Fry in a wok in batches, about 3 tablespoons per batch, to brown the chicken. Having a small batch at a time means that the heat in the wok can be maintained and the chicken will brown.
Lift each batch and any liquid into a bowl. (Add a teaspoon of safflower oil in between batches as required).
Ensure that any liquids are retained in the bowl of fried chicken.
Wash and dry the wok.
Place a tablespoon of oil in the wok and turn on the heat to LOW. Add the garlic and fry for a minute only to ensure that the garlic is not burnt.
Add the onions and turn up the heat to MEDIUM.
Fry for about 5 minutes until the onions are softened and browned.
Place the fried chicken in the wok with the garlic-onion mix and stir fry for a minute on MEDIUM heat to allow the chicken to absorb the garlic onion flavours.
Add the tomatoes and carrot, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig rosemary and bay leaf and turn up the heat to HIGH to stir fry. Add ½ cup of chicken stock to prevent the mix from burning.
Stir for about 5 minutes till the tomato starts to break up.
Add the rest of the chicken stock and wine and chopped parsley stems. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add 1 sprig of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary to imbue the dish with the fresh flavours of the herbs and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Serve the chicken provencale garnished with the chopped up parsley leaves.
Accompany with steamed potatoes with lots of butter and a green stir fry vegetable dish of snow peas, sugar snap peas and asparagus.
Carrot did not feature in the recipes I researched but I added it to sweeten the dish. . Some recipes for this dish require tomato paste but I prefer the red, ripe tomatoes which are fragrant and luscious.
Most of the recipes I researched required olives and anchovies. As I do not like either of these ingredients, I have omitted olives and in place of anchovies, marinated the chicken in fish sauce which browns the chicken when stir fried.
Chicken provencale is meant to be cooked with the bones intact but for easy consumption, I removed the bones.
Being mid-November in Melbourne, sugar snap peas, snow peas and asparagus are now in season. Their fresh green colour and crispy texture nicely pair off with plain potatoes with butter and the rich golden-red colour of the chicken provencale. My photos feature the vegetables which I bought fresh from the market today to accompany the chicken provencale.
The rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and parsley are from my garden. The parsley is going to seed and its delicate stems, bearing dainty seed pods, are really attractive in a slim crystal vase.
If you prefer, you can serve this dish with mashed potatoes – potatoes steamed till soft, mashed up and mixed with cream, butter, milk and grated cheese. If you like, add a little chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.