Poulet en Barbouille is a very old recette that some say dates waaaaay back to a battle between Ceasar and the Gauls. It’s similar to the Burgundian Coq au Vin but it’s origins are from Berry. The sauce is finished with blood to thicken it and give a beautiful glossy deep brown color.
It can be hard to find animal blood and this recipe can be thickened with potato starch (fecule) instead, but it won’t give the quite the same color or flavor. I greatly appreciate the French use of the total animal. This is evident in their heritage of delicious sauces made from carcass or bones, chacuterie, and dishes made of various organs (kidneys, sweetbreads, liver, etc).
It’s not easy working with ingredients that aren’t commonly found in home kitchens and in this case we were all a little grossed out by the pints of blood… hence the funny photos. Notice how the color of the sauce changes with the addition of blood at the end. Also, if you do use blood you need to add a drop of vinegar to it and mix it in.
Chicken parts of 2 chickens marinated in red wine from 12 hours to 2 days.
1 inch thick slab of lardon (bacon)
1 yellow onion
2-3 whole garlic cloves
5 Juniper berries lightly crushed
10 black pepper corns lightly crushed
300ml veal stock
Two whole bay leaves
Sprigs of dry thyme
150ml blood with a 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar added
2 Tablespoons toasted flour (light brown in color)
Peanut oil for frying chicken (3-4 Tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 200˚C or 400˚F
1. Drain chicken. Reserve marinade and reheat to a boil on stove. Skim impurities that float to the top. Set aside.
2. In a large oven safe skillet sweat chopped onion and carrots over medium low. Be careful not to brown vegetables. Add bay leaf, thyme, and garlic.
3. Take bacon and blanch it by putting the whole slab into a pot of cold water then boil it. Skim impurties off the top and remove bacon right after it’s boiled.
3. In a smaller skillet brown chicken in a 3-4 T of peanut oil. Oil should be hot before adding chicken. Put chicken in skin side down first. Once chicken is browned remove and let drain.
4. Add chicken to sweated onions and carrots over medium heat. Deglaze pan with cognac. Once cognac has mostly evaporated and the alcohol burned off, sprinkle toasted farine over and stir to coat vegetables and chicken.
5. Add veal stock and enough marinade to almost cover the chicken but not quite. Add peppercorns and crushed juniper berries, and bacon slab.
6. Cover with lid or parchment paper and cook for 45 minutes.
7. When chicken is done, decant and keep warm.
8. Remove rind from bacon and cut into batonets or little pieces, add to chicken and keep warm.
9. Strain sauce from vegetables into a saucepan. Heat sauce on medium heat and let reduce a little (not too much, just so it’s soupy). Skim fats from surface.
10. Pour 2/3rd’s of sauce back over chicken. With the remaing 1/3 add the blood and stir over medium heat. The color will change quickly from red to a dark rich brown and thicken. Pour this over chicken and stir to combine.
11. Serve immediately.
Notes: If you are making for a dinner party you can cook the chicken in advance and then do the sauce with at the last minute. This dish cannot be reheated because the blood sauce gets globby.