Aunt Emma's Never Fail Pie Crust

3 c sifted flour
1 1/4 c Shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Cut shortening into flour and salt.
Combine egg, water, and vinegar in a separate bowl.
Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with spoon until flour is all moistened.
It can be re-rolled without toughening. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks or divide into balls enough for one pie and wrap in Saran wrap and freeze indefinitely.

Makes 2 crusts

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chicken Amnesiac

Okay, that's not the real name of this recipe. I did forget to blog though, so perhaps the French Armagnac carries with it some amnesic effects?  I'm going to go with that.

Last Week's recipe chosen for my online cooking group at was called "M. Jacques' Armagnac Chicken".  If you're like me you'd never heard of Armagnac- a French spirit, distilled (aka highly alcoholic), not unlike Cognac, whiskey and bourbon.  Dorie explains all about it (she really, really likes it!) in her book Around My French Table. Armagnac is made from three types of white grapes, aged in oak, in the area of Three Musketeers fame, Gascony, in the Southwest of France.  It is most often enjoyed, just as Cognac, as a digestive after dinner.

Well guess what, MY local supermarket does not carry this particular alcoholic beverage.  Peasants!  I did find a selection though, at that high-end purveyor of fine spirits, Total Wine. Yee-Haw.  Had to open the bottle and try it when I got home. Oh Yum!

Dorie was offered this recipe by her friend, Jacques, a maitre d'hotel of a brasserie in Paris. (Right about now I'm wishing I'd taken French class in high school...) We should all be so lucky. 

One lovely organic chicken is baked with new potatoes, carrots, lots of onions, thyme and rosemary from my garden, a bay leaf, fresh ground salt and white pepper.

We are directed to cook the veggies in oil on the stove, season, add the herbs, cook a little longer and then shove them to the sides of the pot to make room for the bird.

Oh and the Armagnac. Which may or may not have been sipped during the preparation of this recipe. Kids, do not try this at home. At least until after all the veg are cut up. Just sayin'.

Then the covered pot goes into a hot oven for an hour. I added 10 minutes because my bird was larger than the recipe called for, weighing in at almost 5 lb.

Remove the chicken, keep it warm. Add a little water and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.  I have to say, it smells AMAZING.
I don't know, but I wouldn't say my chicken turned out like Dorie's: beautifully browned.  I'd say it was more like tan.  However, mine was thoroughly cooked yet delightfully juicy and tender.

Une petite merveille indeed. 

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