Recipe for Chicken A La Poitevine


3 lb roasting chicken
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 pint brandy
1 head garlic
1 salt & pepper


Joint the chicken into the usual 7 pieces (or buy 2-3 lbs chicken portions). Separate the head of garlic into cloves and peel them. Don't be put off by the quantity of garlic, it doesn't taint the breath at all. Above all, don't reduce the proportion.

In a large casserole, heat the oil with the butter until the froth subsides **BEWARE** Don't let the butter burn. A few pieces at a time, fry the carefully dried chicken joints on both sides, turning once only. You don't want to cook them, just brown them lightly.

As soon as they are all cooked, pour off the excess fat, trying to keep any crusty bits in the pan. (I put a knife blade on the edge just to let through the fat.) Return the browned chicken to the hot casserole, and still over moderate heat, pour over half the brandy, which you have warmed gently in a ladle. Set light to it, shaking until the flames subside. **WATCH OUT FOR YOUR HAIR**

Reduce heat, pour over the brandy, add the whole garlic cloves, season generously with freshly ground pepper. Cook 20-40 mins depending on how well cooked you like your chicken done, or until tender. For modern broilers, 20 minutes is long enough for them to be tender. For older free-range chicken, 40 minutes may not be long enough! You will have a few tablespoonsful of sauce. Correct seasoning and serve very hot. The garlic cloves will be deliciously edible.

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