This recipe is from my favorite restaurant in Paris, which is “très sympa et on y mange bien” (very pleasant/nice and one eats well there). This was the recommendation of the owners of an apartment I rented in the 1er, between the Louvre and Les Halles. I will be in Paris in about 2 weeks, but I don’t think I’ll get to go there for a meal, unfortunately. I don’t write French well at all, so if I made any mistakes, I apologize in advance. I wanted to include the metric measurements since I had them and I’m sort of paraphrasing the original recipe at the same time because the ingredients were in a bizarre order.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Covered dutch oven, cheesecloth, kitchen twine
- 4 1/2 pound chicken (1 belle poule de 2 kg environ), cleaned and rinsed
- 1 pork belly (1 demi poitrine du porc, demi-sel) – see my note below.
- 1/2 pound ground veal (250 g de veau haché)
- 1/2 pound ground pork (250 g de porc haché)
- 1 egg yolk (1 jaune d’oeuf)
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, washed and minced (1 bouquet de persil, préalablement lavé et haché) – but the parsley bunches are bigger in the US, so I think 1/2 is fine
- 2 large onions, 1 of which will be minced, the other peeled with 2 whole cloves stuck in it (2 gros oignons, dont 1 ciselé et l’autre piqué avec 2 clous de girofle)
- 2# carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces (1 kg de carrottes)
- 2# turnips, peeled and cut into large pieces (1 kg de navets)
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and chopped into large pieces (2 gros poireaux)
- 1 stalk of celery, rough chopped (1 branche de céleris) – I am confused as to whether this indicated a single stalk or an entire bunch. I went with stalk.
- 2# potatoes (1 kg pommes de terre)
- 1 branch each of rosemary and fresh thyme (romarin et thym, laurier)
- salt and pepper
- mustard and cornichons, for serving (and please don’t skip these, as they really add to the flavor of the meal!)
Note: It may be difficult for the American cook to find pork belly, especially the lightly-salted version that the French like to cook with. Basically, it’s bacon – but I would not use American-style bacon as a substitute here. If you can find fresh, unsalted pork belly at a butcher, you can soak it in brine for about 1 hour to make it ‘demi-sel’ (lightly salted). If you cannot find it, I recommend using a small portion of pancetta (1/4 pound or so) and soak it in water while the chicken is cooking to remove much of the salt. Chop it and add it. It’s the closest thing you are likely to find to poitrine or lardons and don’t skip this as it adds a lot of flavor to the finished product!
Put the chicken in a large, covered pot, and fill about 3/4 with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and let cook about 2 hours, skimming fat frequently.
Soak the pancetta if you are not using pork belly.
Meanwhile, combine pork, veal, minced onion, chopped parsley, egg yolk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Note you should mince the onion very finely to make it easier to cut later – these onion pieces are too big!
Place on pieces of cheesecloth, roll up and secure with twine at ends and one or two place in the middle to secure the cheesecloth (making fresh pork/veal sausages). Set aside.
After the chicken has cooked, add the vegetables EXCEPT the potatoes, the cheesecloth-cased sausages, the pork belly/pancetta, the rosemary and thyme. Cook another 1 hour. Remove the meats and allow them to cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the potatoes and let them cook another 20-30 minutes.
Remove the meat from the chicken and add back to the pot. Slice the sausages and add back to the pot. Slice the pork belly and add it back in as well.
Serve it steaming hot with a little pot of Dijon mustard and some cornichons. Really. Don’t skip the mustard, please!
This recipe makes enough for pretty much everyone you’ve ever met to have some. Eat some now and freeze some for later – it’s such a yummy, flavorful chicken soup for a cold, rainy evening!