Chicken in Lemon Sauce
chicken, including the giblets - 1, about 3 lb
leek, white part only - 1
celery leaves - a few
small piece celeriac - 1
shallots - 1-2
carrot - 1
thyme sprig - 1
bay leaf - 1
finely chopped rosemary, marjoram, basil, sage and savory - 1 pinch each
sweet white wine (sweet Graves or Barsac) - 1 bottle
salt and pepper
double (heavy) cream - 1.25 cups
egg yolks - 5-6
lemon, juice of - 1
lemons, peel and pith of - 2
sugar cubes - 4-5
asparagus tips - 14oz
pastry boats - 4
fluted lemon slices - a few
puff pastry fleurons - 4
Put the trussed chicken in a large copper saucepan with the giblets, the roughly chopped leek, celery or celeriac, shallots, carrot, thyme, bay leaf, herbs, wine, salt and a moderate amount of pepper. Bring slowly to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.
Pour off half of the stock and strain it through a fine sieve. Keep the chicken warm in the remaining stock in the pan.
Remove the fat from the strained stock by quickly passing a piece of paper towel over the surface. Bring the stock to the boil and cook until reduced to 120-150ml/4-5 fl oz.
Put the cream, egg yolks, reduced stock, lemon juice and a fine julienne of lemon peel in another copper saucepan and beat together.
Place the sugar in a heavy-based pan with a drop of water and heat until the sugar has caramelized, then add 15 ml/1 tbsp water to obtain a syrupy liquid. Add 30 ml/2 tbsp of this caramel to the cream, egg and lemon mixture and whisk vigorously over a high heat until it boils. Continue to whisk over a very low heat (or in a bain-marie) for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. If the sauce curdles, add a little cold double (heavy) cream and whisk vigorously.
Blanch the asparagus tips in boiling water, then drain and place on an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with small pieces of butter and heat in the oven until all the moisture has evaporated.
Remove the chicken from the stock and detach its wings and legs. Wipe all the pieces with paper towels and arrange on a heated serving dish. Coat with sauce. Put some sauce in the pastry boats, then top with asparagus tips. Complete the garnish with fluted lemon slices and puff pastry fleurons."
- from "Larousse Traditional French Cooking" by Curnonsky
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