French Chicken in a Pot

20 Dec

In case you were wondering (TW, Donna, Lesly, Trish, and Steve in particular!) what I did with the last two pastured birds from the Restoration Farm Chicken Project…well let me catch you up!

Those new to the blog should know that we participated in a pilot pastured chicken share at our C.S.A. initiated by Trisha Hardgrove. The birds, five in all, were raised out on the farm, grazing and eating organic feed and processed right on-site. They were extraordinarily tasty and the texture was beautiful. So far I’ve done a traditional Asopao de Pollo (Soupy Chicken and Rice), a Rosemary-Lemon Roasted Chicken, and a Tandoori-Style Roast Chicken . My dad did the fourth in a lovely and warming chicken noodle soup, but I don’t have the recipe for that.

For the fifth and final bird of the season I went with another Cook’s Illustrated recipe, with, once again, only the very slightest modifications (a bit more rosemary, for example). The skin wasn’t crispy, but O.M.G. the tender savory chicken and the PAN JUICES. Wow. The secret is the Dutch Oven and not roasting your side vegetables in the same container, as they release a lot of liquid and dilute the chicken juices.

The instructions may look a bit long, but it is really easy – prep and forget. Effortless excellence!

I did oven-fried sweet potatoes separately for this one.

French Chicken in a Pot

You need a 6-quart Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid for this recipe

One 4.5-5 lb chicken, giblets removed

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, chopped roughly

1 small rib celery, chopped roughly

6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (if desired)

½ – 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Place oven rack on lowest position and hear oven to 250°. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season generously with salt and as much pepper as you see fit. Tuck wings behind back.
  2. On the stovetop, heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken, breast side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and (optional) rosemary sprigs around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast side up and cook another 6-8 minutes, until you get nice browning on chicken and vegetables.
  3. Off heat, cover top of pot tightly with aluminum foil and cover with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook chicken until breast registers 160° and thighs register 175°.
  4. Transfer chicken to carving board, cover loosely with foil and rest for 20 minutes. Strain chicken juices from pot through a strainer and discard the solids. Let juices settle for 5 minutes , then set over medium heat in a saucepan. Carve chicken, adding additional juices to saucepan. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken, with the sauce passed around separately.
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9 Responses to “French Chicken in a Pot”

  1. Bluejellybeans December 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    ¡Qué rico se ve este pollo!
    Una receta genial… Que tengas una muy feliz Navidad Natalia 🙂

    • nataliadecuba December 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      Feliz Navidad, amiga!!! Que lo disfrutes…

  2. ceciliag December 21, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    AHA ! I just bought myself a dutch oven and I have a woodstove as you know and I was wondering about cooking the whole bird in there.. ok! good! thank you.. c

    • nataliadecuba December 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

      Merry Christmas, C! Love the dutch oven, but hate when I forget that the holder for the top of the pot is hot……

  3. T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types December 20, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I did wonder! You can see from the photos how beautifully tender this chicken was cooked. My final number 5 – is still in the freezer waiting for me to find the perfect recipe. Sounds like a New Year’s Day feast waiting to happen.

    • nataliadecuba December 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

      Absolutely let me know what you decide! Wishing you a merry, merry Christmas!!!

  4. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide December 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    That looks beautiful.

    • nataliadecuba December 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      Very tender and juicy….the skin, well, best removed really!

  5. Karen December 20, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Such an easy recipe but the flavor must be great. I would rather have tender, juicy chicken than crispy skin any day.

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