This Valentine’s Day, we bring you Valentine’s advice of one Jonathon Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds, who wrote for talk shows helmed by David Frost and Dick Cavett, first brought this superb recipe to the New York Times in 2000. It was first cooked at a beloved and romantic Greenwich Village restaurant called “La Tulipe”. It is a remarkably easy recipe to make and who doesn’t love a great roast chicken, especially one that achieves crispy brown perfection. It would be good all by itself but to it, you add mushrooms, cognac in a cream sauce. Don’t be put off by the time it takes. A good portion of it is while the chicken roasts and you and your love interest can enjoy a drink or two.
Back to Mr. Reynolds and his Valentine’s Day discovery…
Mr. Reynolds, a bachelor, discovered that a man cooking for a woman was wildly seductive. He never claimed to fully understand the phenomenon but he reported that “perhaps it’s the surprise, or the role reversal…or the implied altruism – he’s taking the time to whip up that bavarois just for me—but every woman I’ve asked claims that a man cooking specifically for her is an aphrodisiac.” The Times also tested among men cooking for men and women cooking for women and it had the same effect. So if you want to impress, make this dish and you’ll have people falling all over you. Or at least one special person.
La Tulipe, the source of the original recipe, was awarded 3 stars by the New York Times for its cooking.
La Tulipe was one of those Greenwich Village restaurants that you entered by going down a few steps and into the base of a New York City Brownstone. It was extremely small. You walked through a little bar, reminiscent of Paris, and then were ushered even further back to a cluster of tables in a chocolate-colored room with pretty tulip sconces and flower arrangements, more often than not, of tulips. A couple named John and Sally Darr owned the place and among its many fans was Julia Child herself. John Darr ran the front of the house and Sally never emerged from the kitchen where she cooked and took her time doing it. The waits were notoriously long. But you were rewarded with a very romantic dinner experience until the place finally closed in 1991. Here is the recipe and after it some further Valentine’s Day suggestions.
Chicken La Tulipe
A great chicken roasted to crispy brown perfection then topped with morel mushrooms in a cognac cream sauce.
- 1 ½ ounces dried morels
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 ¼ cups light cream or creme fraiche, divided
- 1 3 1/2-pound chicken, rinsed (neck, giblets, and liver removed)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
- Pinch of cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees and let morels soak in Cognac 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
- Step 2 Sauté the morels in 1 tablespoon butter for 5 minutes then add 1/2 cup light cream and reduce by half. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne.
- Step 3 Rub chicken with remaining butter and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Spoon morels into the body cavity. Roast chicken on one side for 15 minutes, baste and then roast on the other side for 15 minutes and baste again. Finally, roast it breast side up for 20 minutes.
- Step 4 Remove chicken from the oven. Throw away most of the fat from the pan, add the wine and mushroomy Cognac, deglazing, and flambe immediately. Reduce over high heat.
- Step 5 Shake morels and juices from the chicken into the pot, add 3/4 cup light cream and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened. Taste for seasoning.
- Step 6 Cut the chicken into 8 serving pieces, arrange them on the platter and pour the morel sauce over them.