The Tartar, remembering Stepan Arkadyich’s manner of not naming dishes from the French menu, did not repeat after him, but gave himself the pleasure of repeating the entire order from the menu: ‘Soupe printanière, turbot, sauce Beaumarchais, poulard à l’estragon, macédoine de fruits…‘ and at once, as if on springs, laid aside one bound menu, picked up another, the wine list, and offered it to Stepan Arkadyich.
-Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina is a whoppingly big novel. 838 pages big. I’m slowly chewing through it, however since I’m still in part one, it was fortunate this food scene was around page 34. If you’re wanting a list of other food in Anna Karenina, the blog Book Menu has already read it and listed all foods mentioned.
It’s also finally out in cinemas in Australia as of yesterday. That only took, like, five months to get here!
But back to food– to translate, the menu contains spring soup (vegetable soup), turbot (a flat fish) with a thick sauce, tarragon chicken, and fruit salad.
Poularde à l’Estragon (Tarragon Chicken)
Am also coming across a gazillion ways of French spelling ‘poularde’. This is what is in the book I’ve read, so this is what I’m using.
In the novel they used capons – castrated rooster- however nowadays capons are just big chickens.
Interestingly, making tarragon chicken made the kitchen smell like warm bread had just been baked. So delicious to walk into.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken legs or 2 chicken maryland
10 sprigs of French tarragon (or as I did, a tablespoon of tarragon)
1 cup white wine (the leftover in the fridge is perfect for this)
Preheat oven to 200oC (390oF).
Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Wahs chicken and brown both sides in frying pan.
In a ovenproof dish, place the chicken pieces, and discard leftover oil and fat for pan. Pour in the 1 cup of white wine and bring to a boil, stirring as you go.
Pour over chicken in dish and sprinkle with tarragon.
Cook uncovered in oven for 30 minutes.
Turn oven to ‘keep warm’.
Pour the juices into the pan again and place chicken in the warm oven.
Bring the juices to a simmer before adding in the 3 tbsp of creme fraiche and the rest of the tarragon.
Pour over chicken and serve.
We followed this easy peasy recipe from Easy Living.
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If your interested in Anna Karenina, these other two posts I stumbled across on the web were interesting (non food related though). The first is the costume designs from the movie (soooo beautiful!) and the second is how the movie will probably inspire 2013 interior design and some samples.