Chicken Basquaise (Julia Child)

Make first: Pipérade


  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium dried bay leaf
  • 4 sweet peppers, red and green
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ripe Espelette peppers


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.
  2. Place a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ham to a plate and set aside.
  3. Return the pan to heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, browned ham, and Espelette and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until the mixture melds and the juices have slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and serve. You can strain the juices through a sieve for a less rustic serving.

For the browned chicken:

Break down a broiler into 4-8 parts. Pat dry. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken, when hot. Spend some time getting well browned all over. Don't flip and flop the chicken, just give it a good 6 minutes or so on each side. 15 minutes, total. Drain fat. Add pipérade and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with rice, potatoes, couscous... 

robin hollandComment