Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
I am always enthusiastic about finding, trying, and sometimes modifying French recipes. French cuisine is characterized by a beautiful mixture of flavors, often very rich and deep—sometimes too rich for other people's tastes. For example, some in my family note the sheer quantity of cream and butter that certain recipes call for!
France has an elegant diversity of cooking, and certainly the food is much more than just what is found in Paris. Every region has its own distinct culinary traditions, and some regions are dramatically different from the others. Alsace and the northern regions, for example, make more liberal use of beer, meat, and potatoes. Wine is another great variable, with different French regions using different flavors and types of wine. And what region is more famous for French wines than Bordeaux?
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In roast chicken dishes, red wine is often used to make a marinade along with vinegar and various herbs to give a delightfully rich, almost fruity, flavor to the meat. One day, seeking to make this recipe, I realized I didn't have any tomato paste. Instead, I chose to use a Moroccan tomato sauce I had found, a shakshuka sauce. This sauce contains roasted red peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, parsley, and an eclectic blend of Moroccan spices. Richly spiced and herby, the shaksuka sauce imparts a wonderful flavor to the chicken.
The dish turned out to be tender, juicy, and succulent. The roasting process brought out the natural sweetness of the onions and carrots, and the potatoes took on the seductive flavor from all of the juices and marinade in which they cook. Not only is it excellently tasty and very hearty, producing a great amount of food, but it also is very easy to make. Other than allocating the time for a marinade and removing the chicken at some points to prevent the chicken from becoming overcooked in the oven, it is the height of simplicity to make—a perfect weeknight meal!
This recipe is adapted from My Little French Kitchen, by Rachel Khoo.
- 4 pounds chicken, mixture of breasts and thighs
- 2/3 cup red wine
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 16 ounces Moroccan shakshuka tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
- 3 white onions, peeled and quartered
- 6 carrots, chopped
- Make the marinade: Combine the wine, tomato sauce, thyme, marjoram, and vinegar. Salt and pepper the chicken plentifully, then combine with the marinade in an appropriately large bowl, cover, and marinate overnight preferably (or at least 30 minutes). Turn over intermittently.
- Place the chopped carrots into the bottom of a large roasting dish. Add in peeled and quartered onions over them, then potatoes, and finally the chicken. Pour the marinade over it all, then cover with aluminum foil. Place into an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast it all together for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven but leave it going, and take the chicken and place it on a separate plate. Put the rest back in the oven and cook for an additional 15 minutes, still covered by the foil, then remove the foil, put the chicken back in, and cook for 15 minutes more until it has a crisp skin.
- Serve immediately.