Week 2: Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: Paris

Hi, Virginia here. I discovered this website, eatyourbooks.com (no commission on mentioning this, and no benefit to us at all, it’s just a great site) where you can log all of your cookbooks, magazines and internet recipes in a searchable database, which is awesome, because as previously mentioned, I have a lot of cookbooks. I’ve logged a total of 270 on eatyourbooks, but that doesn’t include some of the vintage ones, and I haven’t even started in on the magazines yet. I’m a little afraid to.

Anyway, I wanted to roast a chicken, and rather than using my usual “Simplest Roast Chicken” recipe from the New York Times (subscription required for viewing, again no commission no benefit for the link), I searched for roast chicken recipes in my eatyourbooks library, and found a recipe in my book, clunkily titled, “Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: Paris: Authentic Recipes Celebrating the Foods of the World.” (purchases made from link do benefit us)

Find this book on Amazon

The recipe is the Poulet Roti Aux Endives et Aux Pommes de Terre or Roast Chicken with Endive and Potatoes on page 120.

I’ve carried this cookbook around with me for 15 years, as it was gifted to me at the beginning of my first marriage. I’ve always had warm feelings towards the cookbook, but never actually managed to cook anything from it. Also, I’ve long been intrigued by cooking French foods, but never really got into it, for whatever reason, beyond your basic ratatouille or Chicken Provençal.

So I started on it. It took a LOT longer than my usual roast chicken recipe, (even taking into account the running to the store to get garlic, as we were somehow out? I genuinely don’t know how this happened) and required many more dishes than my usual recipe, much to Chris’s chagrin/amusement. The running joke in our house is that I use up every single dish and pot in the house making toast. However, the results were pretty fantastic, the skin was excellent, crispy and flavorful. I followed the recipe faithfully, although I eliminated the endive, as it was not critical to the recipe, and replaced those greens with Jacques Pépin’s French Green Beans and Shallots from the NYT Cooking website (which I’ve cooked a bunch of times before, and almost always use white wine in the recipe, even though it doesn’t call for it).

The recipe was great, the sauce was great, the potatoes were a bit bland, and I probably would have halved or quartered them to let them absorb more of the chicken fat and sauce. Otherwise, excellent recipe. Easy, and for once, actually called for an acceptable amount of garlic. All of the children enjoyed this chicken dish, which was a bonus, as Chris’s kids are generally not fans of the stuff I enjoy cooking, as I think the flavor profiles are too complex and maybe a bit foreign for their palates. I don’t take this personally, as I know adjusting to new flavor profiles can be difficult, especially when you’re younger and haven’t destroyed all your taste buds yet.

Chris chose to make Boeuf en Daube (beef stew) from the book. He was a bit nervous about it, because it had a fair bit of commitment, with marinating the beef overnight in a bottle of wine, to a long cooking time, but let me tell ya… Chris picked a winner. The dish was amazing. We cooked it on a night where his kids were with their mother, but we had Georgia, and we were all completely enthralled with this dish. I got so excited the next day when I realized there were leftovers of this. The cookbook offers wine pairing recommendations at the end of each recipe, so we paired this with a really lovely Cote du Rhone from Kermit Lynch. The pairing was fabulous, and I’ll probably take them up on their next wine suggestion next time.

The verdict: We will be cooking from this cookbook again. The dishes were freakin awesome. And actually, we purchased all of the other books in the series (I already had Rome and Florence) because we liked this book so much. Good news is that they can all be found on Amazon for under $5 including shipping.


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