Friday, February 17, 2012

An old friend returns to active kitchen duty

The other night I revived a delicious chicken dish that Jackie and I used to eat a couple of times a year but had completely forgotten about: poulet sauté au vinaigre, which in my version uses a whole cup of vinegar (and lots of other things) for one cut-up chicken. Just as good as I remembered it. Maybe better. I wrote something about it in today’s “Cooking Off the Cuff” over at The Washington Post.

We always used to eat it with a simple rice pilaf. I tried to think of another accompaniment, just for the sake of change, but couldn’t come up with anything better (though couscous or rösti potatoes were plausible candidates). So I reverted to rice, made with butter-sautéed leek, tarragon and dilute chicken stock. As I thought back to the days when we frequently ate chicken with vinegar sauce, I remembered the old brown Le Creuset saucepan in which I always – always – cooked this kind of rice dish. Since then, I’ve moved on to other pans and have gone through a phase of microwave rice-cooking (and still use the microwave from time to time). 

But that heavy, stubby old saucepan worked so well. I knew it was around the apartment somewhere, so I got a flashlight and peered way into the back of two or three closets until I found the pan, sitting atop a little pile of even older steel frying pans – a crêpe pan among them – coated in dusty grease (or was it greasy dust?) but at least not rusted away. The rice pan itself also had a similar … patina, shall we say? A scrubbing pad and some soap got it off in short order – an advantage, no doubt, of the enamel coating.

Gosh, it made a good batch of rice! Welcome back, old friend.

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