A taste of Paris in Boca Grande: It’s time for some engagement chicken

February 12, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

Braden Perkins was born in New Orleans Louisiana and grew up in Boston. Braden worked for four years with celebrity chef Tom Douglas in Seattle. In 2011 Braden and his partner, Laura Adrian, opened their first restaurant, Verjus beside the Palais Royal in the center of Paris, France.

In 2015 the duo opened their second restaurant just down the street from the first. In 2020 they purchased a farm just outside Paris and will begin construction on a restaurant at the farm in the spring of 2021.

Braden has been featured on “The Barefoot Contessa” with Ina Garten, as well as in the “New York Times,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “Bon Appétit,” “Saveur,” “Food and Wine,” Travel and Leisure,” “Afar,” Goop,” “Milk Street” and other publications.

Laura Adrian is the daughter of islanders Jane and Joe Adrian. Braden and Laura are on the island for a time, and graciously are allowing us to publish some of their recipes.

BY BRADEN PERKINS – My friend Ina Garten refers to her famous roast chicken as “engagement chicken”, because when someone serves that roast chicken to their significant other, often the recipient will propose marriage. If that roast chicken can be the catalyst for a marriage proposal, then this roast chicken stock could be what continues that lasting endearment.

Good chicken stock is easy to make. Simply roast chicken bones and vegetables in a pan, add to a stock pot with aromatics and simmer slowly at a low temperature for at least four hours. Around the four-hour mark is when the “magic” happens as the chicken bones release their collagens and thicken the chicken flavored water into a delicious, and healthy, collagen rich chicken stock. The process of making chicken stock also fills your house with the lovely smells of a Parisian street market and with its whole chickens slowly spinning on the rotisserie.

ROAST CHICKEN STOCK

1 lb of leftover roast chicken bones and carcass

1 lb chicken wings (or use 2 lb if you don’t already have a roast chicken)

4 stalks of celery

2 large carrots

1 white onion

3 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme

1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon tomato paste

4 quarts of water (16 cups)

1. Roast chicken bones and vegetables in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.

2. Place vegetables in a stock pot with thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and tomato paste.

3. Cover with four quarts of water and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a low simmer and allow to cook for at least four hours.

My wife will make one large pot of stock at the beginning of the week with 2 or 3 times the quantity of these ingredients. She then freezes the stock in one-quart jars and we use them in a variety of recipes as the week goes on. Here are some of our favorite recipes.

REFRIGERATOR DRAWER

MINESTRONE

1. Bring a quart of chicken stock to a boil in a large sauce pan.

2. Chop and add whatever vegetables you have on hand; carrots, onions, leeks, bell peppers, chilies, zucchini, summer squash, winter squashes, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, bok choy, cabbage, etc.

3. Add chopped garlic and whatever dried spices you have; chili flakes, dried thyme, dried basil, paprika, black pepper, dried rosemary, etc.

4. Continue to cook until vegetables have softened.

5. Add a can of peeled and chopped tomatoes.

6. Add a can of beans; white beans, kidney beans even chickpeas, be sure to also add the bean water from the can which flavors and thickens the soup.

7. Continue to cook until the beans soften a bit.

8. Add salt and taste for texture of ingredients and seasoning.

9. When ready, remove from heat. Add juice of a 1/2 of lemon.

10. Top with chopped fresh parsley or basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

GLAZED VEGETABLES

1. Pick out vegetables that have roughly the same cooking times; carrots, celery root, onions, etc.

2. Cut vegetables to roughly the same size.

3. Bring a frying pan to high heat with a teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil.

4. Add cut vegetables to the pan and toss quickly in the oil.

5. Reduce temperature to medium heat and continue to cook, tossing often.

6. When the vegetables are almost done add just enough chicken stock to “deglaze the pan.”

7. Wait for the chicken stock to reduce and coat the vegetables.

8. Remove from heat and add juice of a 1/2 lemon, a pat of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

9. You could also add chopped fresh parsley at the end, or even a teaspoon of white miso for additional flavor.

POACHED CHICKEN BREASTS

Poaching boneless chicken breast in chicken stock is an easy way to make a tender and flavorful protein for any dish. We use this method and serve the sliced chicken over rice with a soy, sesame oil and black vinegar sauce topped with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

1. Bring four cups of chicken stock to a boil in a sauce pan.

2. Add one or two chicken breasts to boiling stock and turn heat to the low.

3. Cover pan with a lid or tightly with aluminum foil.

4. Allow chicken to poach for 20 minutes.

5. Remove from heat.

6. Remove chicken breasts from stock, serve whole or cut into smaller pieces.

SIMPLE GRAVY

1. Warm one tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.

2. Add one tablespoon of all-purpose flour.

3. Continue to whisk until the flour is totally incorporated into the butter and the flour has turned a golden color.

4. Whisk in two cups roast chicken stock and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to low, add salt, pepper, and dried parsley.

6. Add additional chicken stock for a thinner gravy.

7. Reserve at low heat until serving.