Chicken with Almonds and Ginger

Reading (very) old recipes allows you to discover new combinations, techniques and flavors, or better said, discover forgotten combinations, techniques and flavors.

The University of Amsterdam is home to the Special Collections, the material heritage of the University. One of the collections is related to recipes, cookbooks, books on etiquette, nutrition, food et cetera. The oldest cookbook is Eenen seer schoonen ende excelenten Cocboeck, inhoudende alderley wel geexperimenteerde cokagien, van ghebraet, ghesoden, Pasteyen, Taerten, toerten, Vlaeijen, Saussen, Soppen, ende dier-gelijckeOock diversche Confeyturen ende Drancken, etc. by medical doctor Carel Baten (Carolus Battus) and was published in 1593. The book contains some 300 recipes for stews, roasts, poached food, pies, cakes, sauces and soup. It was published as an annex to his Medecijn Boec (medicine book). 

Luilekkerland

In 2018 Onno and Charlotte Kleyn published Luilekkerland (named after the painting by Pieter Bruegel de Oude). It’s a great book on 400 years of cooking in the Netherlands. They must have spent months at the Special Collections going through various cookbooks and manuscripts with recipes. They created ‘a magical mystery tour’ through the kitchens of the past.
In the book they describe one of the recipes of Carolus Battus: een sause op eenen gesoden capoen. Or in English: poached Capon with sauce. 

Capon is very expensive, so like Onno and Charlotte we go for chicken. Our recipe is for 2 chicken thighs, but we could also imagine making a roulade and then serving a slice of chicken roulade with the sauce.
The surprise is in the sauce: the combination of bread, ginger and almonds is tasty and complex. The sauce may appear to be filming and fat, but actually it’s not. The texture of the sauce is interesting as well: the bread will make the sauce a bit porridge-like and the crushed almonds prevent the sauce from being smooth.
Our version is a bit closer to 2022: we’re not the biggest fans of poaching and we don’t see the need for sugar in the sauce.

Wine Pairing

Best is to go for a white wine with a touch of sweetness, for instance a Gewürztraminer. This will combine very well with the somewhat unusual flavors in the dish.  If you go for a glass of red wine, then we would suggest a pinot noir, nice and earthy.

What You Need

  • 2 Organic Chicken Thighs
  • Chicken Stock and Optional
    • Leek
    • Carrot
    • Celeriac
    • Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • 15 grams of White Almonds
  • 1 – 2 cm of Fresh Ginger
  • 100 ml of Dry White Wine
  • Slice of Toasted Bread

What You Do

If your chicken stock needs a boost, then add the vegetables and let simmer for 15 minutes or so. Best is to make your own stock.
In a small skillet heat the butter and olive oil. Fry the chicken until nearly done. In parallel blender the almonds and the toasted bread. Grate the ginger. Add the white wine and the ginger to the mixture and blender. Add some stock and blender for a few seconds. Transfer the mixture to a pan and warm over medium heat. It requires attention, so keep an eye on the sauce and stir every minute or so. The sauce will thicken so you will probably need to add more stock. Transfer the chicken to a warm oven and let rest. Deglaze the pan with some stock and add this liquid to the sauce. Stir well. Now it’s time to taste and adjust. Remember the taste is new, so take your time. Serve the chicken with the sauce. 
We enjoyed the chicken as a main course with some Brussels sprouts, olive oil and nutmeg.

The Queen’s Soup

Actually, this post should be called Potage à la Reine, or even better Koninginnensoep. Before looking at the details, let’s first talk about Dutch Royalty.

The first Dutch Queen (Koningin) was Wilhelmina who reigned from 1898 until 1948. She was succeeded by Queen Juliana and later Queen Beatrix. Their birthdays were always a reason for festivities with lots of food (and lots of beer nowadays). One of the favourite dishes was a soup called Koninginnensoep: a rich, creamy chicken soup with carrots and garden peas. Not very refined, but perfect for the occasion.

The recipe of this soup goes back to France, to chef François Pierre de La Varenne (1618-1678). He is probably the first chef who documented and prepared Potage à la Reine. The soup is made with two kinds of stock (one made with almonds, the other one with partridge or capon), bread, lemon and it is garnished with pomegranate and pistachios. It was prepared in the honour of Queen Marguerite de Navarre.

The Dutch Koninginnensoep is a simplified version of the Potage à la Reine. Some recipes suggest replacing the bread with rice; most suggest making a roux and adding eggs and cream to thicken the soup. The pomegranate is replaced by carrot and the pistachios by garden peas. A practical cheap, Dutch approach…

Enough details, let’s start preparing our version of this traditional soup. After all, today, April 27th, we’re celebrating the King’s birthday! Hurray!

What You Need

  • For the stock
    • Organic Chicken (bones and meat)
    • Carrot
    • Leek
    • Onion
    • Bouquet Garni (Thyme, Parsley, Bay Leaf)
    • Mace (small piece)
    • Olive Oil
  • Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Butter
  • One Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • White Pepper
  • Carrot
  • Green peas

What You Do

Gently fry the sliced leek, the chopped carrot and the chopped onion in olive oil. After a few minutes add the chicken. Leave for a few minutes. Add cold water, the bouquet garni, the mace and a piece of carrot. Leave to simmer for one or two hours. Pass through a sieve. Cool the stock and remove the fat. You could do this the day before. Remove the skin and bones from the meat and make cubes the size of garden peas. Same for the carrot. Set aside. 
Combine 30 grams of flour with 10 gram of almond flour and 30 grams of butter (depending on the amount of stock, these quantities are for one liter), make a roux and thicken the soup. Leave on low heat for 60 minutes.
Beat the egg yolk, add cream, mix some more. Add the warm soup to the liquid, one spoon at a time. This is known as marrying the soup and the eggs. When done, add the chicken and leave on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir gently. Add white pepper. In parallel quickly cook the garden peas (one minute will be fine) and warm the carrot cubes.

Garnish the soup with carrot and garden peas.

The Queen's Soup ©cadwu
The Queen’s Soup ©cadwu