6.06.2015

That's the Way the Chicken Crumbles

When Mark and I were in Provence for my 50th birthday - before this blog even existed - we met a wonderful couple through our mutual friends, Susan and Towny.

Muriel and Pierre are pretty much kindred spirits when it comes to enjoying food and wine.

We dined at their home a couple of times, and had them to dinner once while we were there.

We keep hoping they will come visit us in the Southwest.

Pierre works for a winery that is part of a Relais et Châteaux property. Muriel works in a bookshop in Manosque, where they live.

In an earlier incarnation, she and Pierre had opened a small bookshop and salon de thé called Le Thé dans l'Encrier. (Tea in the Inkwell)

Muriel was the cook at Le Thé and, even though they were no longer there when we visited, her recipes lived on under the new ownership.

Susan and Towny's daughter, Alex, loved going down the street to Le Thé for a slice of their Tarte aux Tomates.

At first we thought it was just her excuse to use the wifi to e-chat with her boyfriend. But then we had the Tarte and knew Alex's intentions were honorable. It was amazing.

When we dined at their home, Muriel served us another of the café's specialties: the Crumble au Poulet.

Here in the States, crumbles are pretty much dessert fare - peaches, apples, berries, and the like.

Pierre and Muriel the day we met them in Roussillon.
In France, they have crossed over the line to the savory side of life. I actually think of them as pot pies with a crumble topping.

On the street where we lived (for those two weeks) in Lourmarin.
This recipe for Crumble au Poulet is from Susan and Towny; they originally got it from Muriel. It is the essence of comfort food, and easy to pull together using leftovers or a rotisserie chicken from the market. I served it with a wonderful organic Côtes de Provence wine - Domaine les Fouques. You can read more about the pairing on the Provence WineZine.

Sipping rosé at Les Deux Garçons in Aix-en-Provence. (It's what you do...)
Like many comfort food dishes, the possibility for creativity is great. Turkey, beef, lamb, pork, shrimp, smoked salmon, scallops. If you try this with fish or seafood, you don't need to pre-cook the fish. It will cook fully when baking. You can use all kinds of vegetables, too, or make it completely vegetarian. Varying the herbs and spices can also change its character completely.

Market day in Cucuron - our favorite Provençal market.
For my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, this is perfect for your approaching winter. For those of us on the northern side, a crumble works really well as make-ahead room temperature summer fare or a picnic dish.

Pétanques in Saignon.
Either way, I hope this brings you a little comfort when you make it.

~ David

Crumble au Poulet

1 whole rotisserie chicken (purchase at the grocery store)
3 medium zucchini
4 large carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup flour
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 cup grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon curry powder or other blended spice mixture to taste
10 tablespoons unsalted butter

Remove the butter from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove the skin from the chicken, take the meat off the bones and cut the chicken into matchsticks.

Wash the zucchini and peel the carrots. Grate both vegetables on the coarse side of a box grater but do not grate the seedy center of the zucchini. You should have an equal quantity of both.

Sauté the vegetables a few minutes in the olive oil, then add the shallots for an additional 30 seconds. Add the chicken and mix well. Add the broth and let reduce a bit and place in a 10-inch deep-dish pie-pan, baking dish, or an oval gratin dish.

In a large bowl, blend the flour, bread crumbs, grated cheese and spice mixture with your hands. Then, with your fingertips, mix in the somewhat softened butter; the mixture should be somewhat crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the vegetable and chicken mixture and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crumble is golden.


Serves 4-6.

29 comments:

  1. This is a glorious idea. So far, I had crumbles only in sweets but this salty version sounds very tempting.
    The pictures are so beautiful and charming, you are the best ambassador of Provence, David!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Daniella! I can't tell whether I am a better ambassador for Provence or Tuscany! (Or Paris, Rome, or Venice!)

      Delete
  2. Hi David what a wonderful crumble, I love savory anything, this has my name written all over it. The weather here is quite cool today, this would be perfect. Also thank you for sharing such a magnificent place your pictures are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you are enjoying that cooler weather! I was just back in New England and it was WAY too cold for me! Highs of 42° one day! I will take our desert heat any day! Enjoy your time up there, and I hope you like the crumble.

      Delete
  3. David, this sounds absolutely delicious, and I LOVED the intro story with it, as well as the photos. Your marble? block is rather stunning too. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz - my marble block is actually a marble and onyx chess boarda, I bought it at the gem and mineral show for $5, planning to use it for a cheese board. And it works perfectly. This year, I plan to get a bigger one!

      Delete
  4. Your photos make me want to A. cook this wonderful chicken dish and B. jump on the next plane to France! I can just imagine that market, and the photo you took looks simply magical! (As you know, I also just posted a dish with a buttery breadcrumb topping!) ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christina - I am always amazed that I will post something and at least one other blogger, in this case you, has posted something very similar! Your chard stems looked incredible! Have you been to Provence? You would love it - it's like Italy, but in French with no subtitles!

      Delete
  5. Fabulous! I'm going to Provence in the fall and I'm so excited. Your photos have gotten me even more excited!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happily jealous, Mimi! Let me know if you need any info! It is a spectacular place.

      Delete
  6. I'm a sucker for a savory pie in all its forms and this counts. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Greg - I like how this one ones together with cheese in the crumble topping!

      Delete
  7. This post was a real visual delight! Loved seeing shots of good food, rosé, the impossibly charming bassin at Cucuron, pétanque balls, a narrow ruelle in Lourmarin... all images that launch a state of reverie! La dolce vita!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirsten - it is a sweet life, to be sure! When are you going back?

      Delete
  8. David, This is such a beautiful post, evoking so many memories of your visit to our favorite Provencal village. The chicken crumble is divine and your choice of wine is terrific!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could have easily posted hundreds of favorite moments and places from that trip! We need to do it again, Susan!

      Delete
  9. David, never had the pleasure of eating a savory crumble and had never even heard of them...that´s what makes blogging so much fun, learning new things, looking at life (and food) from all kinds of different perspectives - lovely post, laden with great food, wonderful pictures, tons of great memories and best of all, friendship!
    Liebe Grüsse,
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the same way I feel, Andrea - I have learned so much and so many new recipes and techniques! I am so glad you enjoyed the post - I think the crumble could be a hit with your family!

      Delete
  10. What a clever idea! I think we have something similar in England using fish. I love savoury pies...a Brit thing I think :)
    Tea in the Inkwell, what a lovely name for a shop! I think if I lived there, I'd be sipping tea and eating tomato tarts as well! Sounds divine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nazneen - I definitely love playing around with this recipe - and should look at some of the British recipes for inspiration!

      Delete
  11. Mmmmmm. I am going to do this the next time I venture to Costco and get one of their roast chickens. We usually can make 4 to 6 meals out of one of them.(and we always make broth with the carcass) I have been using the leftover chicken to make green chili chicken enchiladas but I am really tired of them and need a break. This Saturday our community has our annual potluck and business meeting and this will be my contribution! Forget the chocolate cake I usually make!
    Thanks for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This recipe is a great use for a Costco chicken, Caterina, and it's a great idea for a pot luck! Thanks!

      Delete
  12. Oh my, I wish we lived in the area.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know, this would bring me a whole lot of comfort this winter. In fact, I think I may make it when my sister and niece come down from Queensland next weekend. Great recipe!

    I adore the photo of market day at Cucuron. It reminds me so much of the Canal du Midi trip we did a few years ago. Le sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Le sigh... Très bien, John! I think Cucuron was definitely my favorite market in Provence, just for its sheer beauty!

      I hope you enjoy the crumble when your sister arrives. I imagine before it hits your table, it will have wattleseed and lemon myrtle in it! :)

      Delete
  14. Chicken pot pie with a crumb topping sounds wonderful! Love all the photos, and love your "cheese tray"!! Five bucks!! What a steal. You mentioned on my post that you were going to look for albino chives at your Asian market. You are able to eat chives, though you are allergic to garlic? If that is so, you will love the yellow chives. They are wonderful, with a slight garlic taste. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathleen! Yes, all chives - even garlic chives - work for me. I can eat all the allium family as long as it is really tender or cooked - just not garlic! I just made a mushroom version of this crumble for vegetarian family - they loved it!

      Delete
  15. Oh! I'll have to give the mushroom version a try - our daughter is vegetarian. Thanks for the idea!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.