Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Friday with Dorie: Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken

The Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken is as simple and flavorful as a sauteed recipe chicken gets.  That is, if you can find all the ingredients, which can sometimes be difficult for French cooking.
When it comes to grocery stores and food markets, Gilbert, AZ is a Mecca.  Within 2 miles of our home there are 13 major options for my food purchasing habits.  If I drive 5 miles, there are at least that many more.  Even with all my options, I continue to strike out with many ingredients.  Items like rhubarb or other fresh foods in season in other areas of the country, some spices, ethnic foods, and common French ingredients can be tricky.  But I’m getting better at my hunt.  (For some items I’m getting good at internet shopping.)  I now know where I can find creme fraiche which used to be impossible.  It’s in a small market only 1 mile away which is on the way to our office...that has become convenient.  (Sometimes I get really lucky and find it freshly made at the Mexican store which is only 3 miles away.  They make sour cream and other cultured dairy products that are great)

But not speculoos.  Never seen them in a store anywhere.  I asked about Dorie’s suggested brand, and the store people have not heard of them.  Speculoos were good when I made them last holiday season, but those are long gone.  And Dorie advises that homemade speculoos are not great in this recipe...go for the store bought.
 It's my day with Honey; one of the best days of the week.  We love to shop.  Honey is quite outgoing as she shares her big smiles and waves to everyone...and her newest word is “Hi!”...gets tried out on everyone.   And it is more like “Hiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!”   With her along I find that people stop to chat, sometimes they follow us around stores also waving and making strange noises that adults should have grown out of long ago, and we get lots of offers for help that I never get when I go out on my own.  I used to find all this extra activity a little creepy, but I’ve gotten used to it; just comes along with Honey.  A couple of months ago we had 3 older ladies following us for at least 30 minutes all through Costco.  When I asked them why they were sticking so closely to us, they told me that Honey was smiling at them and they just could not resist following her around.

I talk to Honey the entire time we are out.  I just figure she can understand, who knows?  So I asked her what we should do about the cookie part of our recipe.  We went to the “organic” store for chicken and found a few cinnamon flavored cookies; I let her pick 2 to bring home.  Whatever we don’t use, she can just eat.  When we returned home, I told her she could choose which one to use as her guess would be as good as mine.  
She thought I was funny when I told her I wanted to photograph her choice.  When we were finished with that part of our ingredient decision making, Honey found a large jar of ginger snaps and wanted one.  I said, “Good idea.  These look better than the cookies we just purchased; we’ll give them a whirl.”  And that’s what we did.  Put a couple into the food processor, no serrated knife for this American cook, and they were chunked up just fine.  (But we did not get the CRUNCH part...don’t think we would have with any of our finds.)

After sauteing the chicken in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, we added our creme fraiche-cookie mixture and brought that addition to a boil.  This dish was finished just in time.  Hubby and No. 1 Son walked through the door and were hungry.  They commented on the good smells coming from the kitchen...I had added a little cinnamon to our gingersnap-creme fraiche mixture, and both of our men really liked how the chicken was seasoned.  Something different.  To complete our simple meal I added fresh grapes and steamed asparagus....sounded French to me.  The whole cooking process took about 10 minutes.  Doesn’t get any easier.
Then later Hubby confided that he has been enjoying the French cooking through this past year.  It’s been a tasty variety of foods and sometimes he wishes we did FfwD two or three times every week.  Good.  I’m very happy he has been enjoying these recipes.  He’s been a good sport to try almost every one, hasn’t complained about my shopping, finds me new cookie gadgets, and I think he tells more friends about my French cooking adventures than I do.

I’m confident that I will find that most of you also enjoyed this chicken recipe.  I look forward to reading your posts and seeing the wonderful foods you all create.


  1. What an adorable little sous chef you have there! Sounds like she is quite a help in the kitchen. As for the weekly ingredient hunt, since we live only a couple hours from the French border I am usually able to find everything. But not this week, apparently speculoos are Christmas cookies here in Germany and so I decided to put the chicken recipe off a couple months and catch up on some other recipes instead.

    And that's very sweet that your husband has been so supportive of your cooking project. I think that makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable to know that the people you are feeding are enjoying it as well.

  2. I bet you Honey can understand every word you're saying to her! She's so cute, I'd want to stick close to you both too if I spotted her in a store..LOL. As for your chicken, good substitution with the ginger snaps. Don't worry, the crunch was lost on mine too.

    Your husband sounds really perfect, can we please swap? I'd love for mine to be more supportive of my cooking adventures!

  3. Honey makes me smile so hard. What a lovely little girl. Since I could not find either the cookies or the creme fraiche, I played catch up and baked some speculoos (I wasn't in FFwD at the time). Your chicken looks great! Seems like everyone was expecting a bit of crunch in the recipe (maybe like in cornflakes breaded chicken).

  4. I am glad you like this dish. I would too if not for its sweetness. Yours looks delish !

  5. Honey is adorable! Her smile is contagious. I haven't had people follow me around the store because of my son (1.5 yrs), but it does weird me out when strangers touch him. Every time I turn around, someone is touching him. Who does that? They seem harmless enough, though.

    Glad everyone loved the chicken!

  6. I love all your little ones - they are all so beautiful :-) People used to follow my girls around too (I had a blondie with curly hair and a brunette)
    On the chicken side - I don't think too many of us found the crunch, but the flavor sure was good.

  7. How funny, Kris. We are too much alike! I am glad that I am not the only one that spends a lot of time on a 'hunt' for ingredients. :) You are lucky that you have found a source for creme fraiche because I have not found that yet here, but the mexican crema was a good substitute. Your chicken looks so good and I can tell Honey agrees. She is just so darling!

  8. Your dish looks delicious and what a cutie pie that little honey is! I think I will try adding some cinnamon next time too.

  9. how exciting that your husband is enjoying it as much as you are!!! :) Honey is darling! Her laugh is contagious, even from here!

  10. The chicken looks good - but Honey is just adorable! No wonder people follow you around to get more of that smile.

  11. Honey is adorable!!! And what a fabulous smile :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one, too...I was pleasantly surprised!

  12. How fun! I didn't make this recipe, but did actually buy a pan for the Madeleines this week! My hisband is really supportive of FFWD, too - that makes it more fun for me!

    I've probably already told you about for spices, but if not, check it out. We always keep their soup bases on-hand to use when recipes call for broth.

    Enjoy your week!

  13. Honey is simply irresistible! The chicken looks good too:)

  14. Honey looks like her smiles and laughter would be infectious! :)

    I love the way your sauce looks and that you used gingersnaps. It sounds great. Glad that your husband likes French Fridays, too - my partner loves some recipes and is a little frightened by others (like the pumpkin-gorgonzola flans)!

  15. Honey is so cute! Glad you and your husband are enjoying all of the recipes. I've missed out the last couple of months- need to get back in the cooking game!