French Chicken in a Pot

(cartoon found here)

There’s a show I like on our local PBS station, America’s Test Kitchen.  The premise is that they get some talented cooks, and they take recipes that we might already know, and they figure out what works and what doesn’t, and they try to perfect them.  So you might see them working on the perfect chocolate chip cookie, or the perfect macaroni and cheese, etc.  They’ll tell you a few of the options that they tried, and what worked vs. what didn’t.  Well, I recently saw an episode where they said they were trying to duplicate a chicken dish one of the people had in Paris.  He said it was moist as all get out, and very flavorful.  I don’t remember the French name for it, but it was probably something like ‘poulet au pot’.  They said you sacrifice the crispy skin we Americans enjoy so much on our chicken, but you gain so much moisture and flavor, you don’t miss it.  I thought I’d give it a try.

We had this for dinner last night, and it got good reviews.  VERY moist, VERY flavorful.  VERY yummy.  The keys to this recipe are:

1. Cover the pot with foil, and then a lid, before putting into the oven.
2. Roast at a low temperature (250 F) for about 1 3/4 hours.
3. Buy the best chicken you can find.  We can’t afford fancy chicken right now, so Foster Farms it was, but it was still delicious.  Give it a try!

French Chicken in a Pot

The cooking times in the recipe are for a 4 1/2- to 5-pound bird. A 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours. We developed this recipe to work with a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. If using a 5-quart pot, do not cook a chicken larger than 5 pounds. Use the best chicken available, such as a Bell & Evans. If using a kosher chicken, reduce the kosher salt to 1 teaspoon (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt). If you choose not to serve the skin with the chicken, simply remove it before carving. The amount of jus will vary depending on the size of the chicken; season it with about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice for every 1/4 cup.

Serves 4
1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion , chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
1 small stalk celery , chopped medium (about 1/4 cup)
6 medium garlic cloves , peeled and trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary (if using) around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.

2. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about 3/4 cup juices). Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan. Stir lemon juice into jus to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at table.

(Dang, I forgot to add the lemon juice.  I’ll bet it would have been yummy.)

This entry was posted in Recipes.

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