Chicken Pontalba Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

This is the last of the fancy New Orleans Chicken dishes that I’m going to feature for awhile, and I finished with my absolute favorite.
This dish was created by the great dutch Chef Paul Blange during the early days of Brennan’s Restaurant. It’s named for the Baroness Micaela Pontalba, famous for supervising the construction of the Pontalba buildings on the uptown and downtown sides of Jackson Square, and for the beautification of the square itself in 1848.
Legend has it that her friend Andrew Jackson, once failed to raise his hat to the Baroness, so when she funded the statue baring his likeness she insisted that sculptor Clark Mills depict Jackson forever raising his hat toward her apartment building. Probably not true, but it’s one hell of a fun story.

The Recipe:

Chciken Pontalba Recipe

2 Boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, lightly pounded
1 Large Baking Potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3/4 Cup Ham, Diced
1 Small Onion Diced
1 1/2 Cups Mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 Tbsp Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, Minced
1/2 Cup All purpose Flour
Kosher salt & Black Pepper
Cayenne
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, in all
Vegetable Oil
1 Recipe Bearnaise Sauce

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the Potatoes in 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crispy.

In the meantime, season the flour with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Season the thighs also, then dredge them in the flour.

When the potatoes are almost ready, heat 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil in a saute pan. When the fat is hot, brown the chicken quickly on both sides, place on a ovenproof dish and finish in the oven.

In the same saute pan, add the ham and onions, saute until golden brown and the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a Tbsp more butter. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
Fold in the brabant potatoes from the oven and 1 Tbsp of the parsley, taste for seasonings. just before serving incorporate the last Tbsp of butter.

Split the potato mixture between two heated plates. Top each with a chicken thigh, and finish with a generous portion of Bearnaise sauce. Garnish with minced parsley.

Serves 2.

More fancy New Orleans Chicken dishes at Nola Cuisine:

Chicken Clemenceau
Chicken Bonne Femme
Chicken Rochambeau

13 thoughts on “Chicken Pontalba Recipe”

  1. Good Lord you’ve outdone youself again Dan, that looks delicious!

    I am definitly going to give this one a try this week, I hope it turns out as good as yours.

    BTW your pictures look good enought to eat!

  2. Brad – Give it a go, it’s not hard to make. The only thing that is a little challenging if you haven’t made it before is the Bearnaise, and that’s not that hard either. I KNOW you would love this one!

    Laurie – If you make it, be sure and let me know how it turns out!

    Lisa – I wish I could dig back into it! One of those dishes that makes you almost want to cry when it’s gone.

  3. Didn’t get to make the chicken, cant find tarragon vinegar for the bernaise sause at our local grocery store…have to check the bigger store….

  4. Jeez Danno, that’s exactly the food I only dream about eating, but can’t due to my cholesterol count. Bravo, your photos are as mouth watering as the list of ingredients, and the way you describe in such perfect detail the recipes; you are a chef aren’t you. Nice use of garlic, too. I know it won’t ever be the same without the bearnaise, but I might try it that way and, as John Lennon said, Imagine…

  5. I’ve made this twice now for my family here in UK, & they love it. The first time I was a bit too liberal with the Cayenne and it ended up hotter than a Bombay curry but was still good, the next time I was more restrained & it was just superb.
    Looking at the picture the chicken seems to have more batter than I was able to get by just dredging it in the seasoned flour – am I missing a trick there?
    Have to admit I used a jar of Bernaise so far – next time I’ll make the time to try doing the real thing.
    This is a great site – I love the originality of this cuisine and the way it combines French hauteur with the down-home earthiness and heartiness of the local Louisiana paysan produce.
    Haven’t yet managed to visit other than through books like James Lee Burke’s, but we hope to one day & try out a few of the great traditional places to eat.
    Thanks again for a great site!

  6. I’ve always used Tom Fitzmorris’s recipe for this, also my favorite creole N.O. chicken dish. I decided to give your recipe a whirl because I liked the simplicity of it and the fact that you use boneless chicken thighs. (my standby for quick and flavorful chicken dishes) The only thing I did differently was use bacon in addition to the ham as all variations of the dish I have had have both bacon and ham. It was delicious and will be the recipe I use to make this dish from now on. Good job!

  7. Back in the 60′s I was a waiter at Brennans on royal street in New Orleans.
    I probably served 1000′s of Chicken Pontalba. I now live in florida. Next week I am visiting my Grand daughter in Chatsworth, Georgia. She likes my cooking and asked me to cook her a special dish while I am there. This is the one I picked as I have nice memories from working for Ella, Dick and the rest of the Brennan clan.

    Felix bordelonfj@comcast.net

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