Country Cooking – Poulet au Citron pour Mon et Wozza

lemon and garlic chicken

As a child in the Eastern Wheatbelt, we would get up early to milk the cows, running home with the still warm cream on our lips, checking our geese for eggs on the way back. Walking to school we would greet the baker and, if we were lucky, he’d hand us some warm buns, fresh from the ovens, which we’d eat with hand-made sausage from the butcher. Mother would pick us up and we’d visit the market, offering our advice as to which were the ripest pears and the juiciest oranges.

Lunch at LamontsAlright, alright that’s crap. The Eastern Wheatbelt was pretty rubbish for food. I think the most exciting thing to come to town was pressed chicken. I’m sure things have picked up but when Mon (on the right in the middle at Lamonts with Wozza, someone called Toni, and a couple whose wedding I went to a few years back) asked me to do a hearty rural dinner for farmers wives that didn’t involve lamb or potatoes, I imagined the worst case minimalist shopping scenario. As military strategist von Rumsfeld might have put it “you go to the kitchen with ingredients you have, not the ingredients you might want”. So don’t blame me if it all goes all pear shaped.

The first thing I’d do would be to get a bunch of plastic containers, make a bunch of stock and pop it all in the chest freezer. This is already culinary gold. Stock. Stock. Stock. Did I mention this before? Stock. Stock. Stock. Stock. Then I’d get some wine, great for cooking and it makes me happy. I’d have a herb garden. Lots of butter. Meats in the freezer. Ingredients that have a shelf life of more than a few days. And a copy of Richard Olney’s Simple French Food (he bags the city a lot). What’s for dinner? Provincial French cooking.

This is another recipe that takes a while but is reasonably straightforward. I’ll explain what happens to each ingredient separately.

Chicken Stock– three chicken carcasses, a couple of chopped carrots and celery sticks, half a chopped leek (or a couple of onions), a handful of parsely, half a dozen peppercorns, a bay leaf, .and a glass of white fine. Cover with water and simmer for at least two hours. Strain, pressing out the solids and put the stock on the boil until it reaches the strength you like. Remove any fat on the top. You can use a paper towel but the easiest way is to let it chill and take the congealed fat off the top.

Garlic- peel 20 pieces of garlic, keep their shape. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and then let them simmer for 40 minutes in chicken stock.

Chicken – the recipe uses the legs, which is the drumstick with the thigh attached. I got a whole free-range chicken. Removed the frame, which I used for the stock. And detatched the chicken legs and wings and put the breasts in the freezer for another time. You can cut the knobbly end off the drumstick and the tips off the wings.

Brown the wings and the legs in some butter, remove them and drain the pan, leaving two tablespoons of fat to make the roux.


Roux – add two tablespoons of plain flour to the leftover fat and stir in well over a low heat. Add a half a glass of wine* and stir over a high heat while scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 600ml of chicken stock. And then (this is the Richard Olney hint) – transfer it to a small saucepan as “the small surface permits a more rapid skimming and degreasing of the sauce while preventing an exaggerated reduction”. Skim off any fat or particles with a paper towel for 15 minutes.

*The recipe recommends white wine but I had some light red wine handy so that would do. It says the French Catalan’s use fortified wine like port so there’s a bit of flexibilty.

lemon and garlic chicken

Assembly-place the chicken pieces at the bottom of a casserole pot, add the garlic, and one peeled and finely sliced lemon, and the cover with the stock. Place in a 170C oven for 40 minutes and serve.

I served this on some pasta (rigatoni). Very enjoyable from ingredinets not very different to what you might use in a Sunday Roast. I’d like to try it again with white wine and one mistake was to place the lemon on top of the chicken rather than in the stock so it didn’t blend as well as it could have (it should dissolve). The garlic is the best part, soft and creamy and not at all garlicky like you’d imagine. Oh and the garnish was done with a lemon zester. If you press hard and run it along the side you should get some nice lengths. Otherwise slice the peel thinly and put in ice cold water.

And there you go, hope this is what you’re looking for. I’m actually a bit out of touch, not quite imagining everybody sits around making billy tea in akubra hats out of touch but well. A good chance to say hello in the comments lurking wheatbelt readers (yes you in Belka, and you in Hyden) and maybe suggest a fave.

lemon and garlic chicken

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  1. Spammy’s avatar

    Hi Devo-it’s the (Spammy) Wozza’s Mum.I’m another one of the wheatbelt hicks,it’s very nice to meet you.The Poulet looks scrummy,if it’s okay with you i’ll share it with all the other CWA members on Wednesday.Perhaps we could include it in our next favourite recipe cookbook.

  2. Moni’s avatar

    Great jibbering jockstraps, Hey Devo,
    Wooow exellent im famouse.
    I feel all warm and gooyey inside. I didnt mind being called a country HICK ,we thought it was kinda sweet, yet Jonny D will have somthing to say.
    I will definatly not be making your Poulet as i will only destroy it.
    oh we were going to invite you to the Mingenew You Beut Ute Bash, whatt do ya think

  3. Anthony’s avatar

    Hi Mrs Wozza.

    Very nice to meet you too. Glad we could geta nother wheatbelter here. I think the days of Margaret River are over. I’d be very proud if you too the recipe along to the CWA meeting.

    You’ve made it baby. I think you’ll be fine with the chicken, or maybe give Wozza a go.

    When is it? I’ve got the Landy for three weeks and a new pair of blundies.

  4. yuto’s avatar

    Na mate, alls yous need is ya flip flops,a tinny,winnie blues and ya akoobra.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    Just one tinny?

  6. rooboy’s avatar

    Hi all ya Scrubbers.These bute yute shows ar real hurlers,specially after a foster or fourty.Hay Mon,how the hell did ya manage such notrieti.

  7. moni’s avatar

    ahh i is a legend in me own time matey.

  8. wOZZA’s avatar

    Hi Devo matey ,
    ahh Devo what have you started?
    As if her head isnt big enough.

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Hope yer saving some space for,

    Well you in it too but lets hope she doesn7t get too big for her boots. Didn’t they cost a couple of hundred bucks or something?

  10. Gracianne’s avatar

    Hi Anthony, you know, when I was small, in my little country village (250 souls), we really did get the milk from the farm and drink it warm from the pot. Well some of us did, the cow smell was a bit too much for me.
    Great recipe, just reading it makes me hungry. I would make it with white wine though (or rose), and eat it the day after, stews always taste better the second day.

  11. chantal, sis no 2’s avatar

    hi devo! this is moni’s sister number two,(the good looking one) i love your site food looks fab ,think moni meant to say warm and FUZZY not goey as this has a totally different meaning…mon your a tossa …luv you xxx

  12. J’s avatar

    hi anthony, i almost bought into that picture of pastoral idyll…poulet au citron looks really comforting…no one, but no one, writes like richard olney about the thriller-worthy action going on in the pan…

  13. Dawna’s avatar

    I highly applaud the adding of red wine to a roux! Your dinner looks delicious.

  14. pseudo chef’s avatar

    Hm delicious

  15. deborah’s avatar

    the first few sentences had me worried for a minute.

    interesting that you served this with pasta. i would have thought some creamy and mashed… but the pasta does look delicious.

  16. Anthony’s avatar

    Ah nice. We had about 25 people and a goat for a couple of weeks that we tried to milk.
    White wine would blend better with the lemon but I thought if lemon is OK for gluhwein then it’s OK. Do you know much about Banyuls?
    There was a bit of gravy and the pasta in the fridge and it was good the next day.

    Hey Chantal
    Cheers. Hate to get between two sisters but I think you’ll find people are gooey inside. Nice to have you here.

    Hi J
    Funnier still if you knw the place. We were 6km out of a town with a school, a pub, a hall, and a wheatbin. Frozen milk and sad looking looking lettuces. Great childhood but not a year in provence.

    Richard Olney is a great read but my copy’s starting to look a bit sad.

    Did you get my email about the thing and the thing.

    Hi Dawna
    Thanks the colour is great as it bubbles and blends in.

    Hi PC

    Hey Saffy
    The alternate universe.

    One of the reasons was it’s something you can keep in the pantry, using pasat is not something that’s automatically associated with French food, and I was feeling lazy.

  17. mons’s avatar

    uum, no my boots were $39.95 on sale, remember

  18. Gracianne’s avatar

    No, I don’t know much about Banyuls, it is usually too sweet to use in in cooking though. It is the kind of wine you drink with foie gras.
    You got me inspired this weekend, I cooked a coq au vin, rooster stewed in red wine. I have not tasted it yet, but it was worth cooking just for that smell in the kitchen.

  19. Anthony’s avatar

    I thought they…oh.

    Sounds like a sauterne. Kind of.

    I salute you on your patience. Enjoy it

  20. mon’s avatar

    yes in our world they were $250.oo in the wozzas world they were only $39.95 heheh

  21. Anthony’s avatar

    Say no more.

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