My Petits Pois a la Francaise with Chicken is the perfect dish for entertaining family style. This colourful, fragrant dish looks wonderful being carried steaming hot to the table and it always meets with rave reviews.
Petit Pois a la Francaise is a classic French side dish consisting of fried bacon lardons, green onions (scallions), fresh tiny peas, chicken stock and wilted lettuce. It’s served alongside many things in France but I love the way this recipe actually incorporates it into the dish itself. I was inspired once again by Nigella Lawson – this is an adaptation of a recipe from her book ‘Kitchen‘. Nigella’s books are all so good I find it hard to choose a favourite but Kitchen is definitely one of my top three!
Petits Pois a la Francaise with Chicken has hard (alcoholic) cider in place of the chicken stock used in Petits Pois a la Francaise but it doesn’t taste in the least bit alcoholic. The two types of tarragon (dried and fresh) create wonderful layers of flavour. Add the shredded lettuce at the very last minute – you want it to wilt but not look too wilted!
There is a lot of broth with this dish so it is good served with mashed potatoes or crushed new potatoes. It’s also nice with rice. You definitely want to provide some crusty bread, preferably a baguette to stay in the French spirit, to mop up the juices.
- 2 teaspoons mild olive oil
- 3 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- ½ cup pancetta cubes, lardons or chopped bacon
- 6 skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons Very Lazy Garlic)
- 2 teaspoons freeze-dried tarragon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cups medium-dry alcoholic cider
- 1½ cups frozen petit pois
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Little Gem or small Romaine lettuces, shredded
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- Heat the oil in a large wide stove top to oven casserole with a lid over medium heat.
- Add the leeks and cook, uncovered, for a moment or two.
- Toss in the pancetta, lardons or bacon and continue to cook until the meat picks up a bit of colour.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pan, nesting them in amongst the pancetta and leeks and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the chicken over and cook for about five minutes more.
- Add the cider, garlic, dried tarragon, salt and pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn back to a simmer over low heat.
- Put the lid on the pan and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the mustard and the peas and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.
- When the chicken is cooked (165°F internal temperature with no pink remaining inside), toss the shredded lettuce over the chicken (it should wilt a little) and sprinkle with the chopped fresh tarragon.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, crushed new potatoes or rice with crusty french bread to mop up the juices.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also enjoy Poulet au Vinaigre de Vin