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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poulet au Porto

Thanks to The Bad Girl's Kitchen that I happened upon, I found another new recipe to try over the weekend. Roasted chicken steeped in a port wine sauce with cream and mushrooms! This was alluring because besides sounding tasty, you get to light it on fire at the end of the recipe! I only have tried to flambe a quite long time ago and didn't quite know how to do it so I ended up with an alcohol-y Steak Diane... so I wanted to give it another shot. (Sorry that the pictures are so dark, but as usual during Michigan winters, most cooking happens while it's dark!)

These recipes are apparently from Julia Child and are classic French recipes for roasting chicken and steeping it in the port-wine sauce. It is a very tasty, rich and cream sauce. The port and brandy (or cognac) do not overpower the sauce and it is quite delicious!

Poulet au Porto
From Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking and highly recommended by The Bad Girl's Kitchen - check out her excellent account of making this recipe here

Ingredients and Directions

3-lb chicken, roasted
Salt the inside of the chicken with 1/4 tsp and smear with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Truss and dry the chicken. Smear another tablespoon of butter around the outside of the chicken. Chop 1 carrot and onion for flavoring the sauce. For basting, use 2 tbsp melted butter with 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes (5 minutes on one side, 5 minutes breast up, and 5 minutes on the other side). Baste every time you flip the chicken. Reduce the oven temp to 250 and baste every 8-10 minutes, eventually using the juices in the pan once your basting sauce has run out. Halfway through (about 30 minutes) the roasting process, flip the chicken onto its other side (it was still on its side from before), and 15 minutes before you expect it to be done, flip the chicken onto its back so it is breast-side up. Check the thickest parts of the thigh and make sure they are done (170 degrees) before removing chicken to rest. When the chicken is done, remove it to a carving board and let it rest at room temperature while completing the sauce.

1 lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed, quartered if large
1/4 cup water
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Bring the water to a boil in the saucepan with the butter, lemon and salt. Toss in the mushrooms, cover, and boil slowly for 8 minutes. Pour out and reserve the cooking liquid.
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 1 tablespoon of the cream
Salt and pepper
Pour the cream and the cornstarch mixture into the mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes. Correct seasoning, and set aside.

1/2 tablespoon minced shallot or green onions
1/3 cup medium-dry port
The mushroom cooking liquid
The mushrooms in cream
Salt and pepper
Drops of lemon juice
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan. (Since maybe my oven was a little too hot, there were too many black bits in my chicken roasting pan so I used another pan and removed 2-3 tablespoons of drippings into the new pan. Stir in the shallots or onions and cook slowly for 1 minute. Add the port and the mushroom juice, and boil down rapidly, scraping up coagulated roasting juices, until liquid has been reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the mushrooms and cream and simmer )for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly. Correct seasoning and add lemon juice to taste.

1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a fireproof pan, smear the inside of the casserole or chafing dish with butter. Rapidly carve the chicken into serving pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and arrange in the casserole or chafing dish.
1/4 cup cognac (or Brandy)
Set fireproof pan over moderate heat or an alcohol flame until you hear the chicken begin to sizzle. Then pour the cognac over it. Avert your face, and ignite the cognac with a lighted match. (I had The Husband there to ensure nothing got out of control... sometimes it's handy havng your own personal firefighter!) Shake the casserole slowly until the flames have subsided. (Mine was on fire for a few minutes) Then pour in the mushroom mixture, tilting the casserole and basting the chicken. Cover and steep for 5 minutes without allowing the sauce to boil. Serve.


  1. Hi there, I'm so happy you've made Poulet au Porto! Isn't it fabulous? Yours turned out great. I can't wait to make this again!

    P.S. In what part of MI do you live?

  2. Hi! It was very delicious, and the flambe was fun! Thanks for stopping by!! I'm in metro Detroit.

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