“Food, to me, is always about cooking and eating with those you love and care for.” - David Chang
There’s more to French cuisine than beef bourguignon. That said, it was said to be the food most representative of France by the Institut Toluna. When polled, however, the French themselves chose the Blanquette de veau (veal) or steak and french fries.
However, there’s one recipe that you need to learn how to cook, the famous poulet basquaise (Basque chicken). In this article, we're going to look at the history of poulet basquaise, a poulet basquaise recipe, what you can serve poulet basquaise with, advice for cooking it well, and how you can learn how to cook poulet basquaise and other great recipes.
The History of Poulet Basquaise
This local recipe became a French national dish and has now gained international fame. It was born in the Basque country and is an easy and tasty dish to make.
The chicken itself isn’t Basque but rather the sauce that accompanies it. The sauce is also known as “piperade” in the Basque country and is made from tomatoes, peppers, and spices.
Initially, it was made of bread and vegetables. However, it evolved into the sauce as it’s known today. The bread disappeared but the veggies stayed. While often served alongside tuna, it’s famous for its use with chicken.
Poulet basquaise is a great dish for any chef to make.
You can also alter the recipe according to your taste and the ingredients you have on hand.
Discover some other easy recipes for budding chefs.
The Poulet Basquaise Recipe
The recipe isn’t complicated but you do need to make sure you get the sauce right.
For six people, you’ll need:
- 1 chicken
- 1kg of tomatoes
- 700g of peppers
- 3 onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 200ml of white wine
- 1 bouquet garni
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Cut the garlic cloves, onions, and peppers into small pieces. You can always cut the peppers into strips if you prefer.
Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a saucepan. Let it heat up and then add the garlic, onions, and peppers. Brown the vegetables for around 5 minutes at a low heat.
Peel the tomatoes and cut them into strips. Add them to the mix in the saucepan and cook them all on a low heat for around 20 minutes. Make sure you cover the pot while it simmers. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a frying pan. Cut your chicken and brown it in the frying pan. If you don’t fancy a whole chicken, you can always get cuts of chicken. Make sure you regularly turn the chicken to make sure it cooks evenly. You can also add salt and pepper.
After 20 minutes of cooking the sauce, you can add the chicken into the mix. This is also when you can add the bouquet garni. Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for another 35 minutes. The chicken will take on the taste of the sauce.
Your poulet basquaise is ready!
What Can You Serve Poulet Basquaise With?
Poulet basquaise is rarely served on its own. It’s commonly served with basmati rice. Basmati rice goes great with the basquaise sauce and the chicken.
The onions, peppers, and tomatoes work well with rice. You can also add thyme to augment the flavours. Of course, other types of rice also work quite well.
In the south of France and the Basque Country, in particular, poulet basquaise is often served with steamed potatoes and parsley. There are several alternatives you can choose. You can also serve it with chips or french fries. Chicken and chips with a basquaise sauce is a winning combination! Mashed potatoes also work well. You can also serve it with tagliatelle. Basquaise sauce has elements of bolognese. Tagliatelle is a treat with chicken.
Couscous is another simple recipe for aspiring chefs to make. Learn how to make it yourself.
Advice for Cooking Poulet Basquaise
Some chefs will tell you that love is the most important ingredient when cooking. While this is a golden rule whenever you cook, there are ways to make your poulet basquaise better.
Make sure you’re using decent utensils and opting for good ingredients. Quality chicken is important. You might want to get the chicken from a farm, for example. Free-range chicken is what you’re after.
The tomatoes need to be good too as they’re the main ingredient in the sauce. Make sure they’re ripe and juicy. The recipe comes from the south of France where the tomatoes are often ripened by the sun. If your tomatoes aren’t ripe enough, you’ll need to add some sugar to balance the flavours. Don’t go overboard, though!
You can always add some good ham to the dish, too. This adds a nice flavour to the chicken. If you do, don’t add as much salt as ham is already quite salty.
If you don’t want to add white wine, you can always add a vegetable or meat stock.
Finally, poulet basquaise is better when its reheated. Consider making it the day before or in the morning.
Other Versions of Poulet Basquaise
Poulet basquaise, like many other popular dishes, has plenty of different versions. The recipe changes from town to town, family to family, and according to local tastes, etc.
You can always replace the chicken with tuna. This is common in Basque seaside towns. Rather than preparing chicken, you can grill the tuna and mix it into the sauce. This is the most common alternative to poulet basquaise. You could also opt for different meat or fish. There are no rules.
You can also alter the sauce. You can add courgettes, aubergines, etc., and make the sauce more like ratatouille. Of course, you can add fewer vegetables than you find in ratatouille. You can also serve the sauce with scrambled eggs.
After all, the sauce is an important part of the dish, not the chicken that often comes with it.
How Can You Learn to Cook Poulet Basquaise?
You can teach yourself how to cook poulet basquaise or learn from a professional. In either case, practice is important. You’re not going to become an expert just by reading the recipe. Even though it’s difficult to mess up a poulet basquaise, the more times you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
In cooking lessons, a professional can give you advice on how much of each ingredient to use. Each chef has their tricks and tips to help you cook better. You can also get private cooking lessons or attend a cooking workshop. Some places even offer you the chance to cook in their kitchens.
Cooking schools tend to offer cooking classes throughout the year. Make the most of them!
If you'd like to learn more about cooking or learn how to cook, consider learning with a private tutor on Superprof. No matter where you are, you can find a private tutor to help you. On the platform, there are three types of tutorial on offer: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face private tutorials involve just the student and the tutor, ensuring that the student has the tutor's undivided attention. Additionally, the tutor will tailor their lessons and course to the student. Of course, the tutor's time comes at a price and while these types of tutorials are the most cost-effective, they also tend to be the most costly per hour.
If you're looking for something cheaper, there are online private tutorials. These tutorials are provided remotely via webcam and as long as both you and the tutor have a decent internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone, you can get tutorials from tutors all over the world. Since the tutor doesn't need to travel to you, they have fewer overheads and can schedule more tutorials each week, allowing them to charge less per hour. Of course, these tutorials are great for academic subjects but not so great for hands-on subjects.
Finally, you can also get group tutorials. Since each student pays their share of the tutor's time, these tend to work out cheaper than any other type of tutorials. Of course, you won't get the tutor's undivided attention like you would with the other types of tutorial. That said, if you and a group of friends all would like to learn how to cook, this is a great way to do it.
Before you choose a private tutor, define your objects, your budget, and how you like to learn. This will help you work out the best type of tutorial and, most importantly, the best tutor. Keep in mind that many tutors offer the first hour for free so you can use this time to get to know your potential tutor.