The legend of King Henry IV’s poule au pot
Poule au pot is an emblematic recipe of French cuisine and a speciality of Béarn.
It is a sort of chicken pot-au-feu (stew) cooked in a casserole dish in stock with vegetables.
The origin of this traditional French cuisine dish is intimately related to good King Henry IV, native of Pau.
King Henry IV of France instituted and democratized poule au pot in the 17th century to address famine resulting from long religious wars opposing Huguenots and Catholics. He imposed poule au pot as the “French national dish”. His declaration about this will remain forever engraved in History: “If God grant me life, I will see that every labouring man in my Kingdom shall have his chicken to put in the pot” (in other words: “I will ensure that every labourer in my kingdom will have a chicken to cook for their Sunday dinner”).
Did you know?
Poule au pot is queen every year in December in Pau.
Restaurants in Pau and Béarn serve this emblematic dish to celebrate the birthday of good King Henry IV.
King Henry IV’s poule au pot
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 2 hours to 2 hours 30
- 1 chicken
- 2 onions
- 3 leeks
- 4 carrots
- 5 turnips
- 400 g mushrooms
- coarse salt, pepper
- white sauce
- Run cold water over the chicken then place it in a casserole dish. Cover it with water, add the coarse salt, three bay leaves, pepper, then leave to heat.
- Peel the vegetables. Place the carrots and turnips in the stock.
- Leave the stock to cook for half an hour. Then, open the casserole, add the leeks, onions, parsley and leave to cook for another half an hour.
- Place some stock juice in a saucepan for the rice (1 glass for 2 people).
- Cut the ends of the tails of the mushrooms, rinse them in water and cut in quarters. Sauté the mushrooms for a few moments in a frying pan in a drizzle of oil.
- Prepare the white sauce, add the mushrooms to the sauce and heat before serving everything.