Sunday best

by mimithorisson

Out of all the days of the week, Sunday is the golden day. We take time off and enjoy a quality ‘déjeuner‘. Our kids love this family ritual, and I secure it by making sure to cook something memorable. I would like to imagine my children’s lives bookmarked by food memories, especially Sunday lunches. It’s a sacred moment in time where all the ingredients matter.

With so many recipes ideas flowing in my head, I always have a soft spot for Lyonnaise cooking. In a way, it’s the French equivalent to my other food love which is Shanghainese cooking. They both have a point in common where a lot of elements are ‘drunken‘ by wine and spirits. There is also a lot of sourness mixed with sweetness, refined and preserved meats. My identity is defined between these two food cultures where East meets West. It’s good to know where you stand.

I made a Xérès vinegar chicken à la Lyonnaise, a classic dish filled assertive with flavours. I love serving this with braised endives and red wild rice from Camargue – the tangy sauce is a big appetite opener and goes perfectly well with the slightly bitter taste of the endives.

Ingredients (for 6 people) :

6 large chicken legs
80 g butter
2 tbsp olive oil (for frying chicken)
3 shallots (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 garlic cloves
3 tbsp plain flour
2 large tomatoes (chopped)
6 bay leaves
300 ml white wine
150 ml Xérès vinegar
150 ml chicken stock
A handful of chopped chives
Salt and pepper

Chop shallots, onion and garlic cloves. Chop tomatoes to small squares. Set aside. Dissolve 1 cube of chicken stock in 150 ml warm water and set aside.

In a frying pan, heat olive oil and fry chicken legs till golden on both sides (approx 4 minutes on each sides). Set aside on a large plate.

In an oven-proof large cooking pot, melt butter and fry shallots, onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes on a medium heat, drizzle flour, mix well, and add chicken legs. Stir gently so the chicken gets coated. Add wine, vinegar and reduce for 4 minutes, still on a medium heat. Add chicken stock, season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaves and tomatoes. Cover and place in a preheated oven (210°C) for 25-30 minutes.

When ready, sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately. I serve this dish with braised endives and wild red organic rice from Camargue (bought at my local organic health store).

Braised endives:

3 endives/ chicory (leaves plucked and washed)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
A pinch of salt

In a large pot, melt butter until golden, add endives, stir, add salt and continue stirring for 3 minutes. Lower heat and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.