Can it really be Sunday already? I found myself wondering what to cook without much enthusiasm after a busy weekend. Yesterday I pulled a whole chicken out of the freezer so I got busy looking for something easy to make. I pulled out one of my favorite cook books – Best Chicken Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated.
One of my favorite things to do is to come up with a recipe based upon what I already have in the kitchen. I found several recipes for a whole chicken and opted for a simple recipe and used what I had on hand. Do not be afraid to experiment with basic flavors – if you already have an ingredient it must mean you like it.
Cooking a whole chicken can be tricky, but this recipe creates a crispy and moist bird that falls off of the bone. Fix it and forget it makes this recipe a favorite for me on a day like today.
- Remember to brown the chicken well during the first step of the cooking process.
- Seal the aluminum foil tightly – this creates a nice seal on the pot and creates a very moist bird.
- Use the pan drippings as detailed in the recipe, but do not be afraid to add seasonings, more chicken stock and a little bit of a roux to thicken the sauce slightly.
- The recipe suggested serving the chicken with mashed potatoes, but I opted for a farfalle pasta for an easier, lighter feel to the dinner.
French-Style Chicken in a Pot
- 1 (4 ½ to 5 pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped medium (about ½ cup)
- 1 small celery rib, chopped medium (about ¼ cup)
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of rosemary (optional)
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Tuck the wings behind the back.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, breast-side down; scatter the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves and rosemary around the chicken. Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, flip the chicken breast-side up and cook until the chicken and vegetables are well browned, 5 to 9 minutes.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the heat; place a large sheet of foil over the pot and cover tightly with the lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the thickest part of the breast registers 150 to 154 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 ½ hours.
- Transfer the chicken to a carving board, tent loosely with foil and let rest 2 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the chicken juices from the pot through a fine-mesh strainer into a fat separator, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids (you should have about ¾ cup juices). Allow the liquid to settle for about 5 minutes, then pour into a small saucepan and set over low heat stirring in lemon juice and roux to thicken.