Most of my books are packed in boxes waiting to be shipped over the ocean to my new home in Scotland. But I deemed a few volumes so important I packed them in my suitcase. One of them is my favourite cookbook, A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong.
Traditional French-Canadian cooking is stick-to-the-ribs good, regional French fare adapted to the rigours of life and the local produce of seventeenth and eighteenth century Nouvelle France (now the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). One of the most famous ingredients of eastern Canada is maple syrup, and for a delicious, rich and unusual "fancy" dish, I like to make this recipe, adapted for two portions from A Taste of Quebec. Eat the first for supper, and wrap up the second for tomorrow's sandwich.
Real maple syrup (you cannot use the fake stuff in this recipe!) is available throughout Canada and the USA; in Britain, I've found it in Waitrose. So far savoury has been harder to find here, although it is of course plentiful in France. My mother brought me a jar of it from a Canadian supermarket this summer.
Poitrine de Poulet au Sirop D'Érable
2 chicken breasts
1/8 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/ tsp dried savoury (sariette)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried sage
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
2. Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
3. In a heavy, flameproof casserole, heat butter over the stove until bubbling and then quickly brown the chicken on both sides. Take off the heat.
4. Pour maple syrup over chicken, and sprinkle with savoury, thyme and sage. Then arrange the onion slices on top.
5. Pour water into the bottom of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes, basting the chicken occasionally with the pan juices.
Serve with greens and potatoes on your best plate. Have a napkin and a glass of dry white wine handy. Yummy, yum, yum!