Pan Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas

 

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After venturing in the world of French cooking I thought I would move a little further south and try something African. I started with this Moroccan dish and boy was it delicious! It was a tad on the spicy side but full of flavor and textures. The most time consuming part of the recipe is browning the chicken. You will want a good color on the chicken so don’t turn the chicken until it is nice and crispy.

I made this dish for lunch and was able to get it in the oven in about 15 minutes and then answer emails while it cooked. Making nicer lunches has been exciting around here. I crave flavor and I used think that I had to eat out to get flavor and something exciting for lunch but now I’ve found quick prep items and it has been really fun to switch things up a bit.

Also the bowl I used in the pictures is a new one from a set that Philip got me for our anniversary. I’ve been eyeing these vintage Vignelli pieces and when he surprised me with 4 complete place settings I was shocked! They make me so happy!

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Chocolate Tartlet

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I love a good tart, especially one that is chocolate. I’ve always thought that tarts were complicated but really if you can get the crust the rest is easy. I served these with a homemade vanilla whipped cream and we downed these suckers in one evening, all six of them 🙂 These are great because you can make them ahead of time and serve them at room temperature.

I made these tartlets to go with our Poulet Vallee D’Auge and they were the perfect light dessert to finish off the French evening of dining.

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Poulet Vallee d’Auge

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A few years ago I made a seven course dinner for Philip’s birthday. This was my first adventures in French food and also the beginning of my love of cooking. That party I realized for the first time that the dinner table really is a place of community and amazing conversation. From that night on I kind of decided that I was going to be all or nothing when it came to cooking…

Philip laughs at me because I used to hate cooking but now I find the kitchen to be therapeutic. I’m trying new recipes left and right these days and there constantly is flour in my hair and I am loving it. I eventually want to cook through Julia Child’s cook book but for now I will do a couple French dinners a month.

One thing I love about French food is it sounds so elegant and complicated but truth be told most of the French recipes I have tried so far are doable for an intermediate cook. For the first couple of times that I make a new recipe I follow it to the letter; that is due to my OCDness. 🙂

For this chicken dish, Poulet Vallee d’Auge, I served alongside it French bread (recipe found HERE) and a creamed garlic potato. For dessert we had a chocolate tartlet that I will blog later.

The chicken is incredibly tender and full of flavor! I bought an entire chicken that had been pre-quartered and this was a nice step to have done for me. I have a chef’s knife that is sharp enough to quarter a chicken but it does take a little while to do and I like having some of the steps done for me.

Creamed potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes to make, cause duh potatoes are delicious. A little trick I learned a while back, to give the potatoes a fuller flavor, is to boil the potatoes in chicken stock instead of water. I then cream them with butter, additional chicken stock, minced garlic, milk, and plenty of salt and pepper. I tend to add the last ingredients until I get the consistency that I desire… one of the few times I don’t measure but instead go on taste and texture alone.

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French Bread

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This French bread recipe was one I wanted to try for a while and need a good excuse to make it. I wanted to serve it with a chicken dish that I had also been eyeing but haven’t had the time to do both. Well I finally got around to making both this past week for a dinner with our friend Ben.

Since this was the first time making this bread, and I honestly don’t make many breads, I found that the recipe will need some perfecting. You are only supposed to let the dough rise for 15 minutes but I got distracted and it rose for 30 minutes. I think this made the dough too airy and it ended up being flatter than I had anticipated. Next time I am going to try and let it rise just the 15 minutes needed and see if the texture is better. But for a first attempt I liked how it turned out, the taste was spot on even if it wasn’t as pretty as I had hoped.

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Bacon, Swiss Cheese, Egg Breakfast Soufflé

[yumprint-recipe id=’7′]I love a good soufflĂ©, especially a breakfast one. When we go to Panera Bread their four cheese soufflĂ© is always my go to option. The flakey crust with the cheesy eggs… breakfast heaven. I made this “copycat” recipe this morning and it was delightfully simple and the taste was right on par with Panera. For the crust you use a pre-made croissant sheet (easier to use the sheet rather than the ones that come as individual croissants) and then simply fill with your egg mixture. I precooked my bacon so it was ready and just needed to be chopped for this specific recipe, cutting the prep time down drastically. I had these in the oven before our post workout coffee was even done brewing.

I used two different sized ramekins and while the smaller ramekins yielded pretty soufflés, the larger ramekins had a better egg to crust ratio. Definitely going to be a frequently made breakfast item in our house, especially since we consume so many eggs now that we are lifting weights pretty hardcore. Protein baby!

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