|Whole chicken, slow-roasted in a covered Dutch oven, with bacon, onion & potatoes. Add a nice garden salad & a loaf of warmed French bread for sopping up those marvelous pan juices.|
Chicken in a PotI happened to catch whole chickens on sale for 67 cents a pound recently, so of course I stocked up on a few and had in mind one of them would land as another form of roasted chicken for the Sunday Supper series for sure. But, as I do sometimes, about mid-stream of beginning to prep the chicken for roasting, I decided to pull down Julia Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and do something different.
Though it's been around forever, Dorie Greenspan sort of brought Chicken in a Pot back to the forefront with the release of her cookbook Around My French Table and the gorgeous pastry sealed version that graces the cover. Julia Child called this type of trussed chicken, first browned in butter and then roasted in a covered casserole with a mixture of vegetables, herbs and seasonings, Casserole-Roasted Chicken. There are several versions in her cookbook, including this one with bacon, onion and potatoes.
Though I admittedly took quite a few liberties with her recipe, she was still the inspiration behind this dish, sometimes also known more simply as Pot Roasted Chicken. Remember the Braun Bon Smothered Potatoes I posted not long ago? The potatoes that accompany this roasted chicken are somewhat reminiscent of those, except that these are cooked alongside a casserole roasted chicken, and smothered with onions and bacon, instead of the smoked sausage. The potatoes are infused with several layers of flavors and are simply marvelous.
I've actually made this pot roasted chicken a couple of times, even once remembering about 20 minutes after I stuck everything in the oven that I'd forgotten to brown it! The browning adds color, but truth is, it's kind of awkward to brown the whole chicken, I don't have a lot of patience, and I really didn't see a significant difference between the two in the finished product anyway, so I think either way would work fine. Even if a tad bit pale in color, the chicken will still be delicious. I do think browning it in a separate shallow skillet is easier, though you will lose the fond, unless you deglaze the pan and add it to the chicken roasting pot.
|Chicken in a Pot - cut into ten pieces and served with the potatoes, onion and bacon on the side on my Blue Willow platter - time to eat!|
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Adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme
Recipe: Pot Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Potatoes©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 30 min |Cook time: 1 hour 40 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
To 6 cups of cool, filtered water, add the brown sugar and kosher salt. Whisk until everything is dissolved; add in the thyme and peppercorns. Place the chicken into a gallon sized zippered bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal and place into a container in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, or up to 12 hours.
- 6 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of kosher salt
- Springs of fresh thyme, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns, optional
- 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed & peel removed
- 5 slices of bacon
- 1 cup of sliced onion
- 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons of butter, softened at room temperature, divided
- 2 pounds of potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 loaf of French bread
Prepare the brine and add the chicken at least 3 hours before cooking. Before cooking, rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken cavity generously with salt and pepper and stuff the smashed garlic into the cavity; truss the chicken and set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice bacon into the bottom of a large skillet and lightly brown. Add onion and cook until slightly softened. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon and onion to a Dutch oven. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan drippings in the skillet and add the chicken, browning on all sides, about 15 minutes total; remove and transfer to the Dutch oven. To the pan drippings in the skillet add the potatoes, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet and boil the potatoes for about 3 to 4 minutes to steam them. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the potatoes; toss to coat completely. Transfer the potatoes to the Dutch oven, placing them around the chicken.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, add the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves; cover and place into the oven. Cook at 325 degrees F, covered, basting a couple of times with the pan juices, for about 1-1/4 to 1 hour 40 minutes, depending on the size chicken, or until chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove the chicken to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes; cut into serving pieces.
If serving with French bread, while the chicken rests, turn the oven up to 400 degrees F, wrap French bread in aluminum foil and place in oven until warmed through. Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter, and using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and onion, placing those on the side of the chicken or in a separate serving dish. Pour the pan juices all over the top of the chicken, saving some to spoon over the individual servings, if desired. Remove and slice the hot French bread and use it to sop up the juices. Serve with a side salad or green vegetable.
Cook's Note: You can use butcher's twine to tie together fresh thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, if you prefer.
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