[Sca-cooks] Back to Basics

Patrick Levesque petruvoda at videotron.ca
Sun Sep 2 18:29:38 PDT 2007

As I'm plunging back again into French cookery, I've decided to get better
acquainted with the basic stuff. So I've decided to begin with the
Vivendier's Barbe Robert.

Here's my quick translation of the original:

"Take some clear water and boil it with butter, then add wine, mustard and
verjuice, and spices of variety and strength such as you like, and boil
everything well. Then cut your chicken in pieces and boil it shortly
(laissiez boullir une onde seullement) and then roast it. Make sure there is
enough broth left, and color it with a little saffron"


-1 cup water
-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/4 cup prepared mustard (chose your favorite variety - I used Meaux)
-a dash of white wine vinegar (no verjuice at hand, unfortunately)
-some pepper
-1 1/2 to 2 pound de-boned chicken thighs
-a pinch of saffron

In a pan, drop the butter in water and heat to a boil as the butter melts.
Add the wine, mustard, and vinegar. Mix well. Add the chicken, simmer five
minutes (somewhat longer, maybe, then required. It is unclear how long "une
onde" should be). Remove the chicken pieces, put them in an oven safe dish
and roast them 15 minutes at 350. Meanwhile, add the saffron and reduce the
sauce, whisking frequently. (I added a bit more butter near the end to
smoothen it out) Serve the chicken hot, covered with the sauce.

It got the definite approval of all my unvoluntary taste-testers (2, 4, and

In his edition, Scully compares the sauce to a "fortified mustard" although
I get quite a different impression from my redaction. I'm interested in
hearing of your own variants of various Barbe Robert type sauces, in order
to compare. 

I'm wondering, at times, to which fair-bearded Robert the sauce is
dedicated? :-))


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