Two types of citric fruits, loads of herbs, fingerling potatoes, all slow-roasting together… Great dinner, fit for company if you so desire…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 chicken things, bone-in, skin-on
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 to 2 tsp salt
fingerling potatoes, cut in half

In a small bowl, make the marinade by whisking the oil with sugar, juice of lemon and orange, herbs, and 1 tsp of salt. Place the chicken thighs in a large bag or shallow dish, and pour the marinade all over. Leave it in the fridge for several hours.

Heat oven to 350F. Place chicken pieces in a large baking dish, skin side down. Pour the whole marinade over the pieces. Season the chicken with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Add pieces of fingerling potatoes all around the chicken, and the thin slices of orange and lemon all over them.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for about 1 hour. Remove foil, flip the pieces and increase the temperature to 425F. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. If desired, run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, I did not have to do that.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sometimes it is not easy to get intense flavor on roast chicken when you use a marinade, but this one did a very good job. I am partial to a two-stage roasting, first being gentle and then finalizing with high heat, because to me that produces the best possible texture in the meat and at the same time crispy skin. The fingerling potatoes turn it into a pretty complete meal, although if you are super hungry, couscous could go pretty well as a side dish.

These days, with temperatures getting higher and higher – just the way I love – I am partial to a simple refreshing salad. In this case, lettuce, grape tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. A lemony vinaigrette, and that was all…

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As I mentioned before, I get a lot of inspiration for bread baking over at The Fresh Loaf Forum.  Browsing through their huge collection of recipes, one made me quite nostalgic, thinking about our good times living in France.  I absolutely had to make it: a “boule” loaded with herbes de Provence!  It cannot possibly get much better than that.   The recipe comes from Floyd, The Fresh Loaf’s host and a very accomplished bread baker. He got his inspiration from a recipe found in  Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads.  My copy, by the way, sits patiently at home, waiting for our return…   😉

I cut the recipe in half to make it easier to bake in my small Breville electric oven, but I’m posting the regular version, which will produce a larger loaf.  The dough requires an overnight poolish, but is very simple and straightforward to make.    Don’t be alarmed by the amount of herbs, they perfume the bread with just enough intensity to make you fall in love with it more and more at each bite.

(adapted from Floyd’s recipe)

for the poolish (made 8 to 18 hours before the final dough):
1 cup bread  flour
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

for the dough:
All the poolish made the day before
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup Herbes de Provence
1 + 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier (I substituted orange juice)
1/4-1/2 cup water

The night before baking, make the poolish by mixing together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of yeast to make a batter. Cover the container with plastic wrap and set aside for 8 to 18 hours until you are ready to make the final dough.

To make the dough, combine the remaining flour with the remaining yeast, salt, and herbs. Add the poolish, the liqueur, and 1/4 cup of the additional water. Mix the ingredients, and, if necessary, add more water or flour until the proper consistency is reached .

Mix by gentle kneading, and leave it undisturbed for 20  minutes in a lightly greased bowl.   Do three more cycles of gentle kneading (or folding)  every 30 minutes.  At the end of the last kneading (a little less than 2 hs of bulk fermentation),  let the dough rise undisturbed  for a full hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball or long loaf. Cover the loaf with a damp towel and allow it to rise again until doubled in size, which takes between 60 and 90 more minutes.

While the loaf is in its final rise, preheat the oven to 450F, with a baking stone inside, if you will be using it.   Just prior to placing the loaf in the oven, score the top of it with a sharp knife or razor blade.

Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 450, then rotate it 180 degrees and reduce the oven temperature to 375 and baked it another 25 minutes. The internal temperature of the loaf should be around 200F.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Of all the spices present in herbes de Provence, lavender is the one that I detect first and foremost.  I once visited that part of France at the time when the lavender fields were in full bloom, and the smell everywhere is simply unforgettable.   I thought the amount of herbs in the dough could be a bit excessive, but reading Floyd’s remarks about it gave me the reassurance to make it exactly as he did.  The aroma of the herbs is evident from the moment you mix the dough, but once the bread is midway through baking, you cannot wait to try the first slice.

The crumb is light and airy, and the bread is quite unique for its delicate herbal tones.  I have a special sandwich in mind for this bread,  but that is a story to be told another time…   😉

I am sending this to Yeastspotting….

ONE YEAR AGO:  Golspie Loaf

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