Before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip for bloggers to Le Havre arranged by Brittany Ferries and the Normandy tourist board. One of the culinary highlights of the weekend was a lunch chez Régine, a chef who runs cookery courses at her beautiful home outside Le Havre. As you can see, we had some beautiful, sunny weather even though it was December. We were invited to act as sous-chefs, helping with some of the preparation and watching Régine at work before sitting down to eat the results.
This classic sauté of chicken in the Honfleur tradition shows off the wonderful cream and Calvados of Normandy. It is definitely a dish for a special occasion, as it is quite rich, but it is impressive without being
particularly difficult. Sorry about the absence of a photograph – I was far too busy eating!
In a delightful conservatory overlooking the garden, Régine served sorrel soup and cheese ramekin (like miniature cheese soufflés) beforehand, and Giverny apple tart with salted butter caramel sauce (above) to follow. For a lighter meal you could start with a salad (something tart like endive and watercress salad), serve green beans and perhaps new potatoes with the chicken and follow it with a plain apple tart or poached pears.
6 chicken breast fillets
1 tsp oil
2 tbsps Calvados
100ml dry white wine
2 tsps veal stock (fond de veau)
200ml crème fraîche
30g caper berries or capers
Cut the chicken fillets across into thin slices. Heat the butter and oil in a casserole or large sauté pan over a medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces and then season them with salt and pepper. Put them aside on a plate, and cover with another plate to keep warm.
Peel the shallots and slice them finely. Brown them in the casserole, then put the meat back into the casserole and reheat it. Pour in the Calvados and allow it to bubble up – and if you’re feeling brave, light it, shake the pan and wait until the flames die down. Add the white wine, water and condensed veal stock. Allow to simmer and reduce for 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Strain and rinse the caper berries or capers and add them to the sauce.
Savour, without guilt – you can eat kale and quinoa salad tomorrow!