Poularde au Riz Sauce Suprême

Chicken with Rice and Cream Sauce

The cold, bumpy Channel crossing had left us feeling distinctly delicate. How gladly we sat down in a small, unpretentious restaurant in Normandy. This beautifully prepared dish arrived and it could not have been a more perfect restorer.

Ingredients

  • 1½–2 kg(3–4 lb) roasting chicken
  • 2 slices of unsmoked bacon
  • 1 onion, studded with four cloves
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • a sliver of garlic (optional)
  • a bouquet of fresh herbs
  • salt, a few peppercorns
  • stock made from the giblets
  • 285 g(10 oz) round-grain white rice
  • 55 g(2 oz) butter
  • 30 g(1 oz) flour
  • 275 ml(½ pt) single cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • finely chopped parsley

Method

Place the chicken in a flameproof casserole. Remove the rinds from the bacon and place inside the bird; wrap the slices over the breast meat.

Add the cloved onion, carrots, garlic, bouquet garni, some salt and the peppercorns. Pour in the stock and make up with cold water to just cover the legs of the chicken. Bring everything to the boil, turn down the heat and cover the pan. Poach the chicken very gently for 45 minutes.

Lift out the chicken and strain the stock into a jug. Place the rice in the casserole and cover with stock to come 3 cm(1 in) above. Place the chicken on top of the rice, replace the lid and cook gently for about 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Remove the casserole from the heat but keep hot.

Meanwhile melt half the butter in a pan, stir in the flour for 1–2 minutes but do not let it colour. Whisk in about 275 ml(½ pt) of the reserved chicken stock and allow the sauce to cook until reduced by about one third to achieve a fine flavour.

When ready to serve, add the cream blended with the egg yolks; reheat and cook until thickened, but do not allow to boil. Add lemon juice according to taste, check the seasoning and stir in the parsley. Keep the sauce hot over hot water and just before serving beat in the remaining butter.

Place the whole chicken or, if more convenient, carve into joints first, in the centre of a hot serving dish. Spoon the rice on each side and spoon some sauce over the chicken; serve the remainder separately.

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