Paris is many things to many people. To me, it is light. Pure, unfiltered, bright, shining light. It is the one city in the world where I spend my days aimlessly wandering, purposeless but for the camera around my neck and the twinkle in my eye. My mind is literally emptied of cares, worries, work anxieties, project deadlines. Paris is for dreamers. What a dream!
I wonder if that’s why the meals shared there are often the most memorable tastes, the most picture perfect plates you will ever lay eyes on. The whole city is at rest, in no hurry to be anywhere anytime soon. There is plenty of daylight for those little extra details like platescapes, picnics in towering Martian fields and long cups of relaxing coffee amidst cathedrals and palaces.
If I’m being honest, every meal I enjoyed over my 3 jours on her streets were some of the best meals of my life. Glossy melted cafe viennois chocolat, buttery cheesy Croque Monsieurs, saucy peppery filets au poivre and this simple roasted chicken in a bed of pan juices and smoky lightly spiced red rice. A sprinkle of parsley and a mouthful of cherry tomatoes roasted to bursting complete an otherwise unadorned landscape of chicken, jus and riz rouge!
The tastes will speak for themselves, so perfectly paired that you will lean back in your chair, kick up your feet and patiently savor each and every bite. This is a meal I enjoyed at La Petite Chateleine. A small but country quaint restaurant on the left bank under the eaves of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. I loved it so much, I brought the memory home to enjoy at my own Oklahoma table.
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Leaves from 1-2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 (1/2lb) boneless, skin on chicken breast
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cherub tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1-2 sprigs of parsley, for plating
- 1/3 cup bazmati rice
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon southwest seasoning
- First, in a small ramekin, combine the garlic, thyme leaves and 2 tablespoons of EVOO, Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes or until fragrant. You will use half of the oil for the chicken and the remaining half for the jus.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken. Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and coat with half of the garlic-thyme oil. Roast the chicken for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, adding the 1 cup of chicken stock to the pan itself, being careful not to coat the chicken in the stock or it won't brown. Add the cherub tomatoes. Continue roasting at 350° for an additional 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring 2/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon each of salt and butter to a boil over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup of bazmati rice, reduce the heat, cover and steam for 5-10 minutes until the rice is the thick and fluffy. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika and 1/8 teaspoon of southwest seasoning until the rice is a lovely red in color.
- Finally, remove the chicken from the oven, cover and set aside to let the juices seap back into the meat. Whisk 1 tablespoon of flour into the remaining garlic-thyme oil. Bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat and gently whisk in the flour, garlic and thyme oil. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half.
- In a bowl, plate the rice, place the chicken on top and ladle in the pan sauce. Add the roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with parsley. Doesn't that sound delicious!