Classical vs. Modern: Poulet sauté a la Bourguignonn

Classical

Poulet sauté a la Bourguignonne, which means “as prepared in Burgundy,” is perhaps a lesser-known French dish than its counterpart, boeuf a la Bourguignonne. Prepared with chicken instead of beef, the dish features the same rich pan sauce — with extra tang, thanks to the use of wine versus stock as the base — while sautéed onions, mushrooms and bacon build flavor and texture. The original recipe for this classic dish can be found in Auguste Escoffier’s “The Complete Guide to Modern Cookery.” The bacon, onions and mushrooms cook in butter until browned, then are set aside while whole chicken pieces sear in the rendered fat before roasting in a 350-degrees F oven to finish cooking. Meanwhile, fat is drained from the pan, and red wine and crushed garlic are added to deglaze. Butter, mixed with flour for a beurre manié, is whisked in to thicken. Classic pairings include sauteed spinach, herbed fingerling potatoes and roasted cauliflower.

Modern

Chef J. Kevin Walker, CMC, executive chef of Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta, developed the modern rendition for poulet sauté a la Bourguignonne by creating a pavé that combines chicken breast cooked sous vide with porcini powder, and a wild mushroom mousseline, with applewood bacon slices lining the bottom. The pavé is served alongside chicken leg croquettes, a bacon-mushroom ragout and butternut squash two ways: pavé-style with ginger and baking spices, and simply roasted. A touch of bright-green, silken broccoli purée, pickled red pearl onions, and a simple garnish sauce made with reserved braising liquid emulsified with butter add pops of color. When Chef Walker plates a dish, he remembers something mentor and Chef Ferdinand Metz, CMC, told him: “Always look to see what you can take away from the plate to make it better.” For Chef Walker, the challenge with this dish was finding the balance between keeping the integrity of the ingredients while still creating a contemporary look. “Doing something simply is much harder than building it up,” he says.

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