Vive Le France!

Hi again! We’re back with our new international cooking destination courtesy of Miss A. Usually when it’s her turn we pull the big Atlas book out and she flips around to find a page she likes – more often than not it involves the color pink. This time the big book was not consulted. She was sure of her pick – France. I asked her if that was really what she wanted, and didn’t she want to look at the big book…nope, France. peeling garlic

Talk about an intimidating choice. I mean French food. It’s among the most revered cuisines around the world, there are many, many phenomenal French cooks, but perhaps most intimidating of all, my family roots can be traced back to the Rhine River area of France and I have not once made a French dish. coatofarms

I didn’t really know about my French history until Mr. N was required to research our heritage for school. We started by consulting the extensive family tree that was fortunate to be in my Grandpa’s possession. If you trace the roots on our branch through many generations we end up at Daniel and Mary Fierre in 1685. After doing a little digging we discovered the following:

Maria Warenbauer [Marie de la Warenbau, Marie de la Warrembere, Mary Warrenbur] was born about 1650 possibly in France. She died 1716 in Pequea Valley, Lancaster (then Chester) County, Penn. Maria married Daniel Feree, a Descendent of Robert Ferree who in 1265 founded noble family at Forchamps known variously as LeFerre, Ferree, Ferrie, Fuchre, Fierre, Firre and Ferie. Daniel was a wealthy silk manufacturer who located at Landau, France, along Rhine River, where some and perhaps all of his six children were born. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by French King Louis XIV, the family fled to Strasbourg, Alsace. Later, they moved to Steinwiel, Bittingheim. Daniel was born c.1650 in France and died early 1708 in Bittingheim. After the death of her husband, Maria and Matthias Schliermacher led a group of 54 Huguenot and German Calvinists from the Palatinate, where they were in danger from the soldiers of French King Louis XIV, to Holland and then London. Reaching London in the summer of 1708, she went to see William Penn about buying land in Pennsylvania. Penn arranged for her to have a private audience with Queen Anne, who then recommended the members of the group be given naturalization status. Mme. Ferree’s group bought 4,000 acres from Penn in the Pequea Valley in Lancaster County. Ferree family joined party of Rev. Joshua Kocherthal and set sail 10-15-1708 on “The Globe,” arriving in New York 12-31-1708. They then went up Hudson River valley to Esopus (Kingston) and nearby New Paltz, site of a Huguenot settlement where some of the group had relatives, including Maria’s son-in-law, Isaac Lefevre, two of whose uncles, Simon and Andries Lefevre, had been among the founders of New Paltz, N.Y. They stayed there until the spring of 1712 while their Pennsylvania land was being surveyed. That done, they moved to what became Lancaster County.

We even discovered a reunion website and a cemetery. At this point I’m wondering why I’ve never cooked any French food! Better late than never I guess, so we bring you Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine). bacon

For this particular recipe, we adapted several versions of the dish we found online, all of which were based on Julia Child’s version. We started by crisping a bit of bacon which was then removed and set aside. Next we tossed in the chicken and pearl onions to brown on both sides. We also poured in a touch of Cognac. browning chicken

Once the chicken was browned, it was time to add the Burgundy, chicken stock, garlic and herbs. chicken in wine

Now if we had read Charles’ post before cooking our coq au vin, we would have tied our thyme, rosemary and bay leaves into a little bouquet (or even made a sachet) to make it easier to discard them after cooking. C’est la vie. seasonings

After the chicken cooks in the wine for a bit it is removed, along with the pearl onions and set aside. (This is also the point the herbs are discarded.) Then the mushrooms and bacon are added to the pot and brought to a high heat. After stirring in a bit of flour, the sauce is left to reduce by 3/4’s. mushrooms

Lastly a bit of butter is melted in the sauce and the chicken and onions are once again incorporated. final dish

The final dish was then served to our hungry crowd (the aromas were killing us!). Coq au Vin

Well, I have one word for you – délicieux. The chicken was tender, full of flavor and a total crowd pleaser. Even Mike, who has often said, “It’s good, but it’s just chicken,” gave this recipe the coveted 4 spoons! (So did I.) chicken burgundy

Mr. N and Miss A were both happy with the taste of the chicken and each ate two pieces. The mushrooms were a bit too much for them to get around though. While they have been eating mushrooms hidden in ravioli or other creative dishes, it’s hard to hide the mushrooms in coq au vin. Remarkably they both still came in with a 3 spoon vote. I’d say that’s some good chicken! coq au vin

I wonder if our French ancestors would be proud. We were for our first attempt at la cuisine. In fact I’m certain it won’t be our last French meal in this house! However, before we move on we’ll share the recipe for the side dish we enjoyed with our chicken (and of course the dessert!). French dinner

Until then, if you’d like to try your hand at a delicious French meal print the recipe: Coq au Vin