Poule A or Poule..?


A glaring misjudgment that I made early in our life here in France remains, annoyingly,  as fresh in the minds of those who witnessed it as on the day of my gaffe. With the best of naive intentions I bought a fresh chicken from the local village shop, seasoned it and roasted it for the prescribed hour and served it to my waiting family and friends in full confidence that I would be showered with compliments for the golden skinned and herb scented delight that I had set before them. The first thrusts of fork and knife, rather than sinking through tender, melting flesh, rebounded from the rubbery roasted elastic that characterises a boiling fowl that has been cooked in an oven for an hour rather than benefiting from the traditional method of simmering in water, with aromatic vegetables, over several hours.The pneumatic quality of the flesh, impenetrable by anything save the sharpest of chef’s knives was to serve as an unforgettable demonstration of the difference between Poule B and Poule A. The pictures in today’s post are those of a roasted Poule A that I roasted, for the prescribed hour, with a big bunch of those herbs that still remain in our garden. Both my knife and Molly’s teeth found just the right amount of resistance before we each, in our own ways, enjoyed the pleasure afforded by the savoury aroma,  mouth watering appearance and inimitable flavour of a perfectly roasted chicken.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, Chicken, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Expectation, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Herbs and Spices, Humour, Photographic Prints, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Poule A or Poule..?

  1. Mad Dog says:

    That’s a beautiful roasting – no doubt Molly purred contentedly before falling asleep 😉

  2. Haha… 🙂 Looks scrummy! A ‘Poule A’ is fantastic roasted, whereas a “poule” without the A should be boiled and have other French gastronomic wizardry/hocus-pocus applied to render it edible (I vaguely remember a recipe for a “poule au pot”..).
    I have yet to get my head around all the different fowl vocabulary in French. I have worked out that Poule is an aging egg producer; a tough old biddy, aka Mrs Cockerel-Hen, a muscley old fowl with years of experience running round the henhouse with Mr C in hot pursuit. Poule A, on the other hand, is a youngster who is deemed oven-ready before he or she attains the age of 10 months, making him/her eminently more appropriate for the roasting pan.

  3. Eha says:

    Know this shall well and truly make me unpopular out your way, but perhaps if one HAS to buy a chicken at the local supermarket and there is a clearly typed differential twixt ‘boiling hen’ and ‘roasting fowl’ . . . one does begin with a small advantage . . . oh, lucky Molly: nought out of a heated up ‘fancy’ tin 🙂 !!

    • I hear you..but…at the time (15 years ago) I was not aware of the difference between poule and poulet which are the sole notifications on the bird as to whether it’s for boiling or roasting. The purchase was made in a little local shop, not a supermarché, where I was already receiving black looks from the patron who was thinking “Another bloody immigrant…”:)

  4. Lucky Molly! And lucky poule for meeting such a happy herbaceous fate 🙂

  5. What a gorgeous roast chicken!! Your story reminded me of a chicken experience a long time ago, supermarket chicken legs (in France), which turned out to be so rubbery as to be inedible. That was the last time I bought meat in the supermarket, and I’ve never looked back! 🙂

  6. What a gorgeous chicken! I’m glad you figured out the problem to make such a lovely roast!

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    At one time, here one could easily find roasting, frying, and stewing chickens. Their age determined which pot was to be their destiny. Not so much anymore. Almost everything is a roasting/fryer with few stewing chickens available. The sad truth is that most people today wouldn’t know the difference. You may have learned the difference the hard way but, Roger, you sure did benefit from your mistake. That bird is perfectly roasted and I’d wager it made a delicious meal.

    • It did indeed, John. I’ve also become very partial to poule au pot and other boiled chicken recipes….and they are freely available and properly labelled…as they were in the first place, but I just hadn’t understood:)

  8. That would have definitely happened to me. And I doubt I would have been allowed to forget it either!

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