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A French Bistro at Home

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Enjoy the relaxed sophistication of a French bistro menu, with an all-American twist: buttery bread pudding for dessert.

Enjoy the relaxed sophistication of a French bistro menu, with an all-American twist: buttery bread pudding for dessert. The roast chicken goes a step beyond the classic, with a sweet and tangy pan sauce to pass at the table. The menu’s designed for four; to serve a larger group, just roast two chickens and double the other recipes.

Menu Timeline

Up to two days ahead

  • Combine the shallots and vinegar,and make the thyme oil for the chicken
  • Make the vinaigrette for the salad

Up to a day ahead

  • Cut and dry the bread
  • Make the whisky sauce

In the morning

  • Cook the vegetables for the salad, wash the greens, and prep the croutons, but don’t bake them
  • Make and bake the gratin

About an hour before guests arrive

  • Roast the chicken; keep warm
  • Cook the pudding (once the oven is at 350°F)
  • Bring the gratin to room temperature,

Just before serving

  • Make the sauce for the chicken
  • Bake the croutons and assemble the salad
  • Put the gratin in the oven to-reheat

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 4 cups lightly packed mixed greens, such as frisée, red leaf lettuce, and mizuna
  • 2-1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 large beets
  • 1/2 lb. haricots verts
  • 4 medium ribs celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large leek
  • 8 small shallots
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 3- to 4-lb. chicken
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced ham (optional)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 to 5-oz. log fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • 1/2 cup good-quality black olives
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/2 lb. focaccia or other rustic-style bread
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs. Scotch whisky or bourbon; more if you like
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence

Pantry Staples

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • Table salt (pinch)
  • Whole black peppercorns

The Menu


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