French Inspiration: Chicken in Banyuls

Market in Chalon, looking out from Le Verre Galant.

Market in Chalon, looking out from Le Verre Galant.

How I love French markets like the one in Chalon-sur-Saône, which I can’t wait to see again next month. Stall after stall of beautiful, fresh food; cheeses; meats and charcuterie; local wines offered directly by their producers; fresh herbs and dried exotic spices; the best fruits and vegetables; succulent, tasty olives; and tasty dried sausages in every flavor imaginable! French markets, and the one in Chalon is no exception, are not only bountiful, but also very uplifting for the spirits and senses. While some people shop and taste, others are engaged in conversation or simply choose to watch the spectacle from the sidelines while enjoying a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars in front of the church.

Le Verre Galant in Chalon-sur-Saône, is a restaurant/wine bar which we keep coming back to. It is situated on the market square, and the formule du jour (which includes wine, dessert and coffee) is always delicious and satisfying. In the warmer months, we have our meal outdoors. It’s lovely to order a drink and wait for your meal while watching the hustle and bustle that goes with the market.
I am always inspired by the simple, French dishes they serve at this restaurant. The last time we ate there we had a dish of duckling in Banyuls, a sweet fortified wine from the Roussillon. It is somewhat similar to Port and is wonderful served with dessert. But oh my was it fantastic with the duckling! It made the meat succulent and sweet.
I tried recreating this dish with chicken quarters instead of duckling. This time, I dare say that my version was even a little better than the one I had at the restaurant. Serve this easy and delicious chicken dish with mashed potatoes or steamed rice and a side of seasonal vegetables.

Chicken in Banyuls
Serves 4
Chicken in Banyuls

  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 350ml Banyuls
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 fat sprig of rosemary, needles finely chopped
  • salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
  • 1 1/4  tsp fine Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • mild olive oil

Put the chicken quarters in a casserole. Whisk the Banyuls, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, mustard and honey. Pour over the chicken and allow to marinate for at least three hours. When ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the marinade, pat it dry and brown it in a little olive oil. Pour the marinade over the browned chicken, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes. If the sauce reduces too much toward the end of the cooking time, add a little water.

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