Alain Passard’s “Poulet au foin” (Chicken cooked in hay)

We are back from our vacation in l’Ariege. Every year we visit Clotilde’s aunt, Tiny, in her summer home.  We are always warmly welcomed and treated to the local products and great conversation.  It is a lovely region with magnificent landscapes. In France meals are more than a moment when you fill up on your energetic needs. They represent moments in the day in which you sit together to share and converse. To honor such occasions, we decided to try a “poulet au foin” (chicken cooked in hay). We followed Alain Passard’s chicken recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken (organic, grass fed)
  • Hay
  • 1 cast iron simmer pot
  • Flour
  • Water
  • A bit of salted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

The cast iron simmer pot is essential in this recipe because it retains heat very well. You will need a chicken that weighs about 1,6 kg. It is important that the chicken does not have too much muscle. I think the one we used had run a bit too much in its life so the meat was not as tender was we had hoped. We used hay that we found in a nearby field. In the recipe, Alain Passard uses fresh hay in from april. We used hay that was more advanced so the flavor was different I imagine. I think hay from april is more fresh and has more of a grass taste whereas hay in august has a woodier taste to it.

Preheat the oven at 190˚C.  Place hay in the cast iron pot and form a nest. Make sure the pot is covered with the hay.  Add salt and pepper inside of the chicken. Then place the chicken in the hay and cover with hay. Add a bit of olive oil on the skin of the chicken.

Use about 125 grams of flour and progressively add warm water to form dough. The dough will be used to seal the lid of the cast iron pot to retain all the chicken’s flavors. Close the lid of the cast iron pot and seal with dough. Place in oven for 1 hour.

IMG_9375

Remove from oven and let sit with the cooked dough keep all those delicious flavors in the pot. After 40 minutes, remove dough and place a bit of salted butter on the top of the chicken and serve. You will impress you guests with this phenomenal recipe.

Bon appétit!

Video recipe of the genius himself (Alain Passard) here : 

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