Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

When I think of Pierre Franey, I remember cozy weekend afternoons, curled up on the couch with a book or newspaper, watching one of his cooking shows on PBS. I still have two of his cookbooks. They made the cut in both moves across country. One is a really old copy of The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet, published in 1979, which I picked up long ago in a used bookstore. The other is the relatively more recent Pierre Franey’s Cooking In France, published as a companion to one of his TV series in 1994. Both are excellent home cooking books.

I have a habit of going to the web when looking for dinner ideas, like I did with this recipe from Serious Eats (again!). I really need to start cooking out of my bookcase or filebox of recipe clippings from more than 20 years of cooking magazine addiction. Maybe I’ll keep Monsieur Franey next to me for a while.

This dish could easily be the base for many variations. You could add mushrooms, tomatoes or olives. Or substitute tarragon or parsley for the rosemary. Or add cream. Or use red wine instead of white. The original recipe called for a cut-up chicken, I used chicken thighs instead.

It would be worth making extra sauce to soak up with a large hunk of crusty bread. I served this with pesto mashed potatoes, although broccoli mashed potatoes would be good too, and Italian spaghetti squash.

Provencal Chicken Thighs

You’ll need a large heavy skillet and that’s about it.

  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Season chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat until the butter foam has subsided. Add chicken pieces skin-side down and cook undisturbed until the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Don’t touch the chicken! Let it sit and brown.

Turn chicken pieces over and add garlic and rosemary to the skillet. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Remove chicken and remove all but a few Tbsps of fat from the skillet. Add shallots and cook for 30 seconds, then add wine and chicken broth. Scrape any cooked yummy bits on the bottom of the skillet while stirring.  Reduce sauce by half.

Return chicken pieces and any juice to the pan skin-side up and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the remaining Tbsp of butter to finish the sauce. Serve with a slab of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Original recipe: Provencal Sauteed Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic, Serious Eats

provencal chicken recipe thighs french

fresh chicken in Hoi An, Vietnam


3 thoughts on “Simply Delicious Provencal Chicken

  1. Mary Tate says:

    I loved Pierre Franey! So cute I can see why you’d keep him at your bedside (sorry Jim!). The hardest part of this recipe is NOT touching the chicken, or it won’t brown and crisp but this sounds like a delicious late winter recipe. Keep cooking!

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