Poulet Aux Petit Pois

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Growing up my father often made dishes that were family classics. Chicken with Peas, or Poulet aux Petit Pois, was an all time favorite. As a child I donʼt think I understood the significance of theses dishes culturally or personally. When I make the dish now, I think of my family, our quirky 70′s kitchen, and all the dinners spent around my parent’s dining room table. Our family dinners were loud and multicultural. Bets were placed on who would spill something first, me or my sister. I can still hear the pounding on the table and clanking dishes. I kept a few things from their kitchen in my own to inspire me and remind me of all those wonderful moments. Every one of my kitchens gets the Cuisine Maison Chez Sylvain sign placed above the stove, just as it had been in my parents home.

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my fathers recipe card

my fathers recipe card

Shuk Levinsky, Tel Aviv

Shuk Levinsky, Tel Aviv

My fathers photo of the shuk in Jerusalem.

My fathers photo of the shuk in Jerusalem.

This dish reminds me not just of my family but also of Israel. Lining the corridors of the shuks, or open air markets, are baskets upon baskets filled with exotic and fragrant spices. Taken together, they become an amazing rainbow of color and aroma that is so wonderfully experiential. The turmeric and saffron in this dish give it a wonderful fragrance and color which enhances the experience of eating it! It is very simple to make and is great for a crowd.

Chicken Ingredients:
1 whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces
1 large yellow onion cut in 1/2 then sliced
4-5 carrots cut on an angle
3 cloves of garlic
1.5 lbs petit sweet peas
1 tomato cut into 1/8ths
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2-3 stands of saffron
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves

Rice Ingredients:
2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tbs olive oil
2.5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Liberally cover the chicken on both sides in salt and pepper (to taste). In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil on a medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot drop in the chicken and brown on both sides. About 5 minutes per side then remove from pan and set aside.

Turn down heat to medium add in the chopped onions and carrots & tomato, sauté in the same pan the chicken cooked in until the onions are translucent. Be sure to scrape up all the bits of chicken at the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron. Cook for another minute ,then add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves.  Mix well. Add chicken and 1/2 of the chopped parsley, Mix well cover and cook on a medium to low fire for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Half way through the cooking time add the rest of the parsley, reserving some for garnish.

Meanwhile in a smaller dutch oven or pot, sauté 1 cup of onions in 1 tbs olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and rice. Mix well, then add water. Let it come to a boil then cover for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently mix up the rice then set aside covered for another 10-15 minutes. Serve the chicken over a bed of rice. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 4-6