ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Poulet Roti”/”Roast Chicken” from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck*
TIMING: 1 1/2 hours total and approximate, depending on the size of your chicken
DIFFICULTY: Involved, but not especially difficult
TOOLS: A roasting pan and two somethings metal to grab the bird and flip it, repeatedly. Also, a basting brush
COOK TYPE: Oven. Roasting
HEALTH: Chicken is a nice protein, and this is almost unadulterated. Once cooked, you have your choice of white or dark meat which vary in both fat content and nutrient content (dark has a denser concentration of nutrients). You also have the option of removing the skin before you eat it. (Oi.)
EXPERIENCE: I really don’t need a recipe to roast a chicken because I do it all fall and winter long. In fact, there have been seasons of our lives when I made a roast chicken every week and a leftover chicken dish on each day after. But over time, I plan to review and blog a few roasted chicken recipes for you.
And I thought I would start with the basics and go ahead and whip up a classic French meal while I was at it. (Yum!) So here is Julia Child’s classic recipe for French Roast Chicken as well as her no-bells-or-whistles accompanying sauce. Look to the next two blogs for the recipes for Potatoes Dauphinause and Frozen Green Peas.
NOTES: This is not actually my favorite recipe for roast chicken, but it is a fine place to start.
Usually, the veggies in the roast chicken pan are beyond eating by the time the chicken is done. However, I roasted my chicken in a sort of wide loaf pan in which it just barely fit (so that it would prop up on its side easier) and the result was a small but flavor-concentrated bit of veggies that my husband and I had to fight over.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Remove any giblets from the inside of the chicken and smear salt and 1 tablespoon softened butter inside the cavity. Truss the chicken and rub the outside with another tablespoon of softened butter.
- Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Around it, add 1 sliced carrot and 1 sliced onion.
- When the oven is preheated, set the roasting pan in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter and whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
- Remove chicken from the oven, turn onto it’s side, and brush-baste with some of the butter-oil mixture. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the oven, turn onto the other side, and brush-baste with some of the butter-oil mixture. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350F and cook for 1/2 hour, baste and salt the chicken and move back to it’s first side.
- At this point, a 3 pound chicken will cook for another 1/2 hour.
- Move the chicken so that it is breast-side up. Baste it for the final time. The chicken is done when you see puffy skin, a “rain of splutters in the oven,” and a clear fluid. I go with the thermometer, which should read 160-165F in the center of the breast meat.
- Remove to a platter and allow to rest for about 15 minutes before carving up.
- Meanwhile, remove the veggies from the juices in the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside if you plan to eat. Otherwise, discard.
- Move the pan juices (scraping the bottom of the pan) to a sauce pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons of fat, remove excess with a spoon or a de-fatter.
- Heat over medium-high heat and add 1 minced shallot, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup chicken broth and boil rapidly until it reduces to about 1/2 cup. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Swirling the pan, add 1 tablespoon softened butter. When that melts, add another tablespoon butter and melt.
Serve with classic French sides, like the pictured Potatoes Dauphinause and Green Peas. A green salad with Shallot Dressing would be a wonderful starter.
*Recipe changed from the original.