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 stew cooked in a casserole dish in vegetable stock.
The origin of this traditional French cuisine dish is intimately related to "good King Henry IV", a native of Pau.
Poule au pot was established by King Henry IV of France as “French national dish” in the 17th century, to address the famine caused by lengthly religious wars opposing the Huguenots and Catholics. His declaration about the dish remains forever engraved in History: “If God grants 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: around 2 - 2h30
- 1 chicken
- 2 onions
- 3 leeks
- 4 carrots
- 5 turnips
- bay leaves
- 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 and pepper, then leave to heat.
- Peel the vegetables. Place the carrots and turnips in the stock.
- Leave the stock to cook for half hour. Then, 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).
- Remove the mushrooms stems, rinse the mushrooms in water then cut them into quarters. Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes in a frying pan in a drizzle of oil.
- Prepare the white sauce, add the mushrooms to the sauce and heat the dish before serving.