A taste of France II

in GEMS2 years ago (edited)

This simple chicken dish sounds exotic, but it isn't really. What adds an extra dimension to it is the Herbes de Provence. I've written about them before, and use them quite often. Those blogs, alas, are lost somewhere in cyberspace. It turns out to be a mixed blessing. I'm refining quite a few of my recipes and the idea of a book is beginning to develop some momentum. Just yesterday, I was chatting with a school friend in Melbourne, Australia. She's been one of my staunchest supporters and helped instigate this blog about six years ago. Some of the recipes I use are inspired by chats we've had. On Sunday Suppers, when I said we were coming up to the third anniversary, she said

Wow! I really enjoy seeing your posts and your menus come to life.

I do love it that I have friends, some not seen for a gazillion years, who virtually join us at our table. All through what I share here, Instagram and via Facebook. It's coming up three years since we started hosting Sunday Suppers in The Sandbag House. Because we've not been able to host Sunday Suppers since march, I'm writing up recipes on a Sunday afternoon instead of cooking up a storm. It's strange. It also seems apt to be sharing a recipe that was the main course for that first Sunday Supper, and one that takes one travelling. Without leaving McGregor. We also have to come to terms with this new virtual reality. I imagine that international travel will, for the forseeable future, be severely curtailed.

Travelling through one's food

Perhaps then, it's apt that today's recipe is influenced by provincial French cuisine. Hearty, warming and comforting. This chicken casserole is a great dish for cooler autumn, winter and early spring. You could also cook it in the slow cooker, but I prefer doing it in the oven. I think it would also be fabulous done over a wood fire in a cast iron pot. Because it's effectively a stew, it's a long cook, so it gives busy parents time to get children tidied up and sorted while it cooks itself.

The distinct flavour comes not from the tomatoes and olives, but rather from the distinctive and unusual combination of herbes that make up the traditional Herbes de Provençe.

The blend I use is made and marketed from McGregor. They often feature - in their packaging as part of the table decor for Sunday Suppers.

Provençale Style Chicken

This dish is not just easy, but it's also a great way to dress up chicken. The addition of olives and the wine add a little touch of decadence. Especially when we all need a lift.

Oh, and of course, don't give all the wine to that chicken!


8 chicken thighs (or joints of choice)
Vegetable/olive oil
4 large tomatoes, blanched and skinned (or 1 x tin chopped tomatoes)
1 onion, chopped*
50 g black olives (pitted)
150 – 200 ml dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 – 2 tsp McGregor Herbes de Provence*
Salt & pepper to taste

What to do

Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and the Herbes de Provence. Brown in hot oil and set aside. Sauté the onion in the remaining oil. Add more if necessary. When slightly glossy, add the garlic and sauté for a little longer. Add the remaining ingredients (olives, wine and additional McGregor Herbes de Provence if liked) and deglaze the pan if it’s not oven proof.

Bake, covered, in a moderate oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the cover and bake for a further ½ hour and until the chicken skin is browned and the liquid has reduced and thickened.


  • Use shallots – they add a different dimension to the presentation
  • If you like a stronger herb flavour, add more at step 4.
  • Serve with rice, mash or hasselback potatoes and seasonal vegetables
  • This freezes well in individual portions.

Download a printable version of the recipe here.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • If this seems familiar, it's because I'm doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you do this, buy me a ko-fi?
    • and "re-capturing" nearly two years' worth of posts because of this.
  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”…
  • It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.
  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here
  • I’m still blogging on Steem and more recently share my burbling on Uptrennd.

Posted from my WordPress blog: https://fionasfavourites.net/a-taste-of-france-ii/

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Oh this is making me very hungry! I have been cooking a lot for myself this month. Usually I cook the simplest things imaginable then go out for dinner to spice up my life. Now I have to cook to spice up my life. I sure have the time!

Thanks for the recipe. It's so simple I will definitely try it. I hope you can get back to in person sunday dinners at the Sand Bag House soon.

If you can't get Herbes de Provence, use a mixture of the herbs in the blend. One of the links will take you to more information.

Funny how some people are cooking more. I am cooking less 🙄

One of the reasons we stopped Sunday Suppers just a little ahead of the lockdown is because this is our home. We have no idea where guests have travelled from. We thought it stupid to potentially invite the virus in. We shall have to see how things unfold. It could be a while.

That said, I do look forward to hosting guests again. I do miss it.

I can completely understand that! Especially if your job involved feeding people. I was in the restaurant business (kitchen) for 40 years, and when I retired, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. But now, stuck at home with no access to restaurants, I'm finding I like to make a pot of something yummy and have it around for a few days.
I hope things reopen soon.

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