French are big on braising. It’s a technique used to soften tough cuts
of meat, which are often the most flavorful ones (and least-expensive),
and traditionally, the ones French people liked to eat. But also during
tough times, cooks would bring pots of food to their local bakers, who
keep their ovens going while they were baking bread, and for a few
coins they’d have them slow cook, or braise, their dinner for
them. The iconic “P” in Poilâne
bread is a nod to a similar tradition of people bringing their unbaked
loaves of bread to a communal oven, and people would slash a mark
in their loaves, or their initial, so they would know whose bread was
whose, once all the loaves were baked.
not sure this dish has roots in France. I haven’t seen many references
to “harvester’s chicken with grapes” in France. A few searches for
poulet vendageur aux
raisins turned up some not-very-encouraging results. So it
may be something invented by someone who romanticized something
that’s less-than-glamorous, namely, grape-picking. But who likes
chicken very much and decided to pair it with a big bunch of grapes,
like I did.
picked grapes a few times and after about 15 minutes in the hot
sun of southern France, I was ready to call it a day and pop open a
bottle of rosé, and drink it in the shade. I can peel apples for hours,
segment oranges until the cows come home, and roll pastry like a champ.
But picking grapes is very hard work.