February 09 The Anniversary of Agnes Sorrel's Death


She was extremely bright, politically astute, exceptionally beautiful, and was known to have had the most beautiful breasts in 15th century Europe. Agnes Sorel came to the attention of Charles VII of France when the monarch was forty and she was twenty-two Charles was fascinated by her uncommon beauty, her sky-blue eyes, golden hair, and magnificent décolletage emphasized by her low-cut diaphanous gowns that scandalized stricter moralists such as the Flemish poet George Chastelain  who lived up to his name by complaining that when he first met Agnes at the French court he could see her nipples.

When Charles met Agnes, she was the mistress of Etienne Chevalier, the king's  secretary. Chevalier commissioned Jean Fouquet's portrait of Agnes, which was his masterpiece and one of the more notable paintings of the sixteenth century. This exceptionally sophisticated painting portrayed Agnes as the Blessed Virgin with her left breast bared, for a diptych at Melun. Fouquet also became one of Agnes's lovers along with the royal chamberlain, Pierre de Breze.

After Agnes became Charles' official mistress, she dropped Chevalier and Fouquet but kept her affair going  with de Breze who, although he was in love with Agnes, was politically loyal to Charles. They both had a dramatic influence over the King and his policies and helped change Charles from a timid, indecisive figurehead to a strong, decisive ruler. The six years that Agnes was his mistress turned out to be the most prosperous years of Charles' reign.

After Agnes became Charles' official mistress, she dropped Chevalier and Fouquet but kept her affair going  with de Breze who, although he was in love with Agnes, was politically loyal to Charles. They both had a dramatic influence over the King and his policies and helped change Charles from a timid, indecisive figurehead to a strong, decisive ruler. The six years that Agnes was his mistress turned out to be the most prosperous years of Charles' reign.

For more information about Agnes, we suggest reading Agnes Sorel: The Breast And Crotch That Changed History by Tim Desmondes.


Agnes has been commemorated in several culinary tributes including the popular Veloute Agnès Sorel. Nonnettes de poulet Agnès Sorel, and the exceptionally appropriate Suprême de Volaille Agnès Sorel (breasts of chicken in a Madeira sauce on a bed of rice flavored with truffles, mushrooms and tongue) .   For some unknown reason, there has never been a film about Agnes, so instead we suggest watching Wild Things-(1999) since Denise Richards has an amazing breast scene that may have the same impact on most men as Agnes's breasts had on Charles VII.


Suprême de Volaille Agnès Sorel (Breasts of chicken in a Madeira sauce on a bed of rice flavored with truffles, mushrooms and tongue)


Chicken Ingredients 6 TB butter 3 large chicken breasts, skinned,, boned and cut in half 1 TB minced shallots 3/4 cup Madeira 1/2 cup white glace de viande* salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


Rice Ingredients


1/3 cup butter 1/2 cup minced onion 1&1/2 cups rice 2&1/2 cups chicken stock 1/2 cup chopped cooked tongue 2 TB chopped truffles 2 cups diced rnushrooms 1/3 cup white glace de viande salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


Instructions

  1. Melt 3 TB butter in a skillet. Salt & pepper chicken breasts and cook them in melted butter over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side until lightly brown.

  2. Add 1/4 cup Madeira, rover and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove breasts and keep them warn while sauce is made.

  3. In a separate pan, melt 3 TB of butter and cook shallots for about 1 minute over medium heat. Add shallots, butter, 1/2 cup Madeira and glace de viande to skillet in which chicken was cooked. Deglaze bits of chicken from bottom of pan and cook sauce over high heat until it is reduced by about 1/3. Salt and pepper to taste.

  4. While chicken is cooking, melt TB butter in a saucepan and  cook onions over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another five minutes.

  5. Add rice, stock, tongue, truffles, mushrooms, glace de viande, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 16 minutes.

  6. Make a bed of cooked rice mixture on a serving platter. Arrange chicken over rice. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

See Appendix A


© 2010 Gordon Nary

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