In France we saw endless fields of lavender, ornately designed royal gardens, and vending machines stocked by local farmers with the crop of the day. In France, we missed lunch almost every afternoon because in Bourgueil, shops close up after 2 and if you're just strolling into town for a bite to eat, you're fresh out of luck.
We saw at least one Château a day, traveled almost exclusively by bike, and learned that a map really does you no good when roads have no signs or names. It flooded, and we drank plenty of wine.
In France, we cooked coq au vin in our little apartment, when all of the restaurants were closed. We tried to eat like the French, even when we couldn't figure out their schedule!
It's almost impossible to tell which parts of this dish are inspired by French cooking and which are just habits learned from my mom. This coq au vin-inspired dish has home cooking written all over it:
It starts with shallots: French shallots are French, aren't they?! Despite the fact that my mom virtually always has a shallot or two laying around, cooking with them always just feels a bit fancier to me than cooking with onions
After you sauté the shallots, pour on the wine (in this case, white). It sizzles and pops, and in true chef fashion you should probably take a sip or two from the bottle between stirs. Get a French wine if you want to feel extra French
Stir in the cream, and watch the sauce go from brothy to rich and creamy. Many a person has added cream to sauce... but is it very French? Maybe, or maybe not. But who cares! It's cream! And it tastes amazing. Just do it.
Finish with thyme, fresh and herbaceous. Any even if your thyme wasn't grown in France, you can pretend it was. Top off you glass of wine before you sit down to eat.
Serves: 4 | Total Time: 35 minutes
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (for dairy-free, try canned full-fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 springs fresh thyme
- Optional: 1 cup fresh baby spinach
- Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken breasts to the pan, and brown on each side until golden (about 5 minutes each side). Move chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Dice the shallot, and add to the pan. Sauté until soft. Add the garlic. Sauté for another minute. Pour wine into pan, and scrape bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to deglaze.
- Pour cream into pan, and stir gently until incorporated. Add spinach, and stir in until wilted.
- Place chicken back in pan. Bring sauce to a slow simmer (if you turn it too hot, the cream may curdle). Add salt & black pepper, and leaves from 2 springs of thyme. Allow to simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Garnish with thyme leaves from remaining sprig of thyme, and serve hot.