Spring Chicken a la Renoir

I came across this recipe in a book about French artists. Apparently famed artist Renoir’s wife Aline, pictured below at left in his painting Luncheon of the Boating Party, used to make this tasty chicken dish for Saturday open houses at their home in Montmartre. If you happen to visit Paris, be sure to stop by the Musee de Montmartre and Jardins Renoir to see the artist’s atelier and gardens. In the meantime, this tasty chicken dish will tide you over.

French Chicken a la Renoir

Ingredients:

A whole chicken, cut into pieces, or 2 lb. chicken breast or thighs

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter

2 tomatoes, peeled and diced

2 small to medium yellow onions, diced

Fresh parsley

Fresh thyme

2-3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup hot water

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup mushrooms

1/4 cup olives

3 tbsp. Cognac

Preparation:

Brown the chicken pieces in a hot pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. I used a cast iron skillet. Once browned, remove the chicken from the pan and discard the oil. Return the chicken to the pan with butter. Add diced tomatoes, diced onions, bouquet of parsley and thyme and one whole clove garlic. Add hot water and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir gently to stop the sauce from sticking. Cook on low heat about 30 minutes to cook the chicken through. Add mushrooms, olives and cognac and let bubble up. Add chopped parsley and garlic before serving.

This dish is perfect to throw on the stove for a family get-together. As long as you watch the chicken during the initial cooking process, it can simmer for a while with the remaining ingredients while you enjoy visiting with your guests.

I also prepared a favorite side dish in the spring/summer: Garlic Parmesan Squash and Zucchini. This is so easy to make. Just preheat the oven to 425 degrees, mandolin slice one yellow squash and one zucchini into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss with three cloves diced garlic and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional five minutes to let the cheese crisp up. This was delicious alongside the chicken!

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