Poulet au Pastis
Pastis or Pernod is often paired with fish as it gives a delicate aniseed note to all kinds of seafood stews and marinades. When I was given this recipe for a Provencal chicken dish using Pastis I had to try it, and my family was delighted with the result. This dish can be prepared in advance and freezes well.
For 6 people
2 chickens (not huge ones), 1/4l olive oil, 6 tomatoes, several branches of fennel herb (if unavailable use some crushed fennel seeds), 5 slices of stale bread, 2 onions, 1 glass Pastis/Pernod, 6 cloves garlic, 1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, 4 potatoes, 1 or 2 mild chillies, 2 small doses of saffron (in thread form if possible), salt and pepper.
The night before cut the chickens into pieces, put in a bowl with the saffron, a little salt and pepper, the Pastis and a glass of olive oil and let it all marinade in the fridge overnight. In a cast iron pot gently fry the onions, garlic, the peeled and roughly chopped tomatoes. Let everything melt down nicely together. Now place the whole branches of fennel herb, the bunch of parsley (whole) and the chicken pieces on top. Cover everything with the marinade and some boiling water. Let it simmer for 10 minutes during which time you can peel the potatoes and cut them into thick slices. Add the potatoes and continue to cook covered for a further 20 minutes. Right at the end lift the lid and boil vigorously for a few minutes so that the oil blends in well. Sprinkle a little more saffron on top and serve on top of slices of stale country bread with a rouille, either shop-bought or home-made.