ratatouille

Poulette: A New Fix For Your Poulet Rôti Cravings

by Anne Maxfield on June 30, 2014

Accidental Locavore Poulette RotisserieAlthough I’ve never understood why there aren’t portable rotisseries at the Greenmarkets, finding a decent roast chicken in New York has never been difficult. Depending on your budget there are lots of options, from Costco to Fairway and beyond. Recently the Accidental Locavore read about a new one that just happened to be in the neighborhood – Poulette. It was written up in French Morning NY and the owner is French, so it had to be good, right?

Accidental Locavore PouletteI grabbed my BFF and we gave it a try a few nights ago. Poulette is a cute little black and white place, with a few tall tables and bar stools if you want to stay and eat (other options are take-out and delivery). There’s a big rotisserie behind the counter, filled with “free roaming” birds and that wonderful smell of roasting chicken.

Accidental Locavore Poulettes ChickenYou have your choice of whole or half birds, with or without sides (there are also wings, a salad and sandwich, but you didn’t come here for that, did you?). We decided to split a whole chicken, since roast chicken leftovers are a mainstay in my lunches, and add a couple of sides. Pretty soon pie tins were delivered to the table, some serving as plates, the rest held the chicken (quartered) Brussels sprouts and ratatouille. The chicken was perfectly roasted, with crisp herbed skin and moist meat (even the white meat). The Brussels sprouts were delicious, as was the ratatouille.

Accidental Locavore Poulette SidesAlong one wall was a counter bearing condiments – a couple of different flavors of mayo along with Dijon mustard and ketchup. We tried an herbed mayo with the chicken, but it really didn’t need it. Not wanting to waste the mayo, we decided to try the frites and ordered them for our idea of dessert. They were terrific. I’m not sure if they were twice-fried in the best French tradition, but they were perfectly cooked and went well with all the flavors of mayo (hey – sake of experimentation, ok?) but certainly didn’t need them. There are other desserts on the menu, but we were full and satisfied. The next time the craving for a good poulet rôti hits, I know where I’m going.

 

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Recipe for Ratatouille Pot Pie

by Anne Maxfield on September 10, 2010

Accidental Locavore Ratatouille Pot PieSince I had all the ingredients for ratatouille from the farmbasket last week, it was time to put them to use. Luckily I remembered this great recipe for a sort of savory cobbler. It’s from the NY Times and it’s a favorite with some of my friends. First you make the biscuits, set them aside and make an easy ratatouille. Here’s how it goes:

Time: 1 hour 25 minutes (but it’s easy)

FOR THE CORNMEAL BISCUITS:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt ( I always use yogurt)

Milk

FOR THE RATATOUILLE:

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1-inch chunks

3 small zucchini ( 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch chunks

7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (I use a mix of sweet and hot)

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks (don’t ask why, but I was out of onions so I used one of the leeks, it was great!)

1 red pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes (I used beefsteak)

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil.

1. For the biscuits: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in the sour cream. Gently knead mixture until it comes together in a ball, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. For the ratatouille: In a bowl, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets (do not crowd vegetables). Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep, preferably oven-proof sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in the onion, pepper, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme sprigs; simmer gently until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is stew-like, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sausage, roasted vegetables and parsley. If you are not using an oven-safe pan, transfer mixture to a 2-quart gratin dish or baking pan.

5. Divide biscuit dough into six equal balls. Use your palm to flatten each ball into a 1/2 -inch-thick disk. Arrange on top of ratatouille mixture. Brush biscuits lightly with milk.

6. Transfer skillet or pan to oven and cook until biscuits are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

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Accidental_Locavore_Ratatouille_to_be

Finally a farmbasket. Lots of good stuff this week, tomatoes, both large and cherry (really sweet!), mesclun, corn, jalapenos, green and red peppers, pimentos, yellow and green zucchini, a big yellow melon (muskmelon?), eggplant, and leeks. The pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and tomato combo calls for a batch of ratatouille, and since it’s going to be cooler, I don’t mind standing over the stove. Since I’m going to be grilling a leg of lamb, it’s a perfect side dish.

The leeks are a pleasant surprise, not meaning to be ungrateful, a handful of potatoes would have made vichyssoise a snap. Ah, I’d have to go buy cream, so it’s no biggie. Creaming the leeks to go with the lamb is also an option, I’ll let you know which way it goes.

The other thing I keep hoping will show up in my basket are those weird little green peppers that are supposed to be like playing Russian Roulette with food. One out of ten of them are supposed to be really hot. You saute them in olive oil until they’re blackened, sprinkle them with sea salt, and enjoy. Addictive.

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