Saturday, February 13, 2010

Diary of a Secret Housewife: French Chicken in a Pot

Last night was an exciting night for two reasons: First, I watched my friend Kasia (aka Mrs. Seabreeze) perform in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.  I jumped up and down like a total fool each time she touch-stepped into the view of the camera.  (She was one of the greeters in white who welcomed the athletes to the stadium.  More precisely, she was the glowing, blond, pregnant one.  Did you see her?)

Second, on the recommendation of Christina, who commented on my experiment with the Thomas Keller roast chicken recipe, I tried out yet another new chicken recipe for shabbat: America's Test Kitchen's French Chicken in a Pot.


The recipe calls for "roasting" the chicken slowly over low heat, which lets the chicken self-baste in its own juices.  Like a relaxing chicken spa.


1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Starting with a small chicken (I used a 4 lb. kosher bird), 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 1 small onion, chopped medium; 1 small stalk celery, chopped medium; a handful of garlic cloves (I used 9, but I'm afraid of vampires); 1 bay leaf; and 1 sprig of fresh rosemary around chicken.  I also added three small carrots, chopped medium, for sweetness (not called for by the ATK recipe).

2. 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.

3. At this point, I also put in some parboiled fingerling potatoes (again, not called for by the ATK recipe).

4. 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.


5.  Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes.

6. ATK says to strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid.  I simply removed the solids, except for the carrots and potatoes, with a mesh ladle.

7. I put the potatoes and carrots in a separate roasting dish, tossed them with a little of the chicken juices, turned up the oven to 450, and gave them another 20 minutes until they were browned and toasty.

Meanwhile, allow the juices left in the dutch oven to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan (I just used the same dutch oven), and set over low heat until the jus concentrates into a desirable thickness.

8. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan. Stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice into jus to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at table.  Bonus: I took the carcass from the chicken, immediately put it into a pot with some carrots, celery, and onion, and made chicken stock.


While the skin of the chicken was sort of blah -- no other recipe creates skin as awesome as does the Zuni Cafe recipe -- the meat was juicy and so, so tasty.  And the jus . . . it was totally out of this world!  The potatoes and carrots were also delicious -- an easy way to amp up the ATK recipe with veggies and carbs.

Bottom line: this recipe is definitely a keeper.  Thanks Christina!

Have you tried this recipe?  Any ideas for what I should make next week?

3 comments:

kristie February 13, 2010 at 11:15 PM  

is the only thing you eat at your house chicken?

Christina,  February 13, 2010 at 11:43 PM  

You made it!! Looks yum!! Glad you like it! ;)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 14, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

@ my bratty little sister: Chicken every Friday! And none for you!

@ Christina: Thanks for the recommendation! We really enjoyed it!

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