Roasted Chicken-Parisian Style!
I am not sure what about this roast chicken is Parisian, except when I roast a whole chicken, I hear Julia Child’s voice in my head. I think she loved roasting chickens as much as I do…maybe more?!? I like to use lots of herbs, butter, olive oil, garlic, onions, other veggies for the roasting pan…and of course, LOVE!
First, select a nice, big bird around 6 to 6 1/2 lbs. Remove the bag of giblets, heart, neck, etc. (Save for soup stock). This is an important step. I forgot to do this once, which did not hurt the end result, but was a little embarrassing when I served it with its innards-in-a-bag still inside. Sprinkle the entire bird liberally, inside and out (my Mom taught me this) with salt. Don’t use expensive sea salt, just plain old table salt is OK as you’re going to wash it all away anyway. Rub the bird vigorously inside and out and pluck any stray feathers especially from the legs and thighs where they tend to stick. Once you have scrubbed your bird well, put her under running water and rinse thoroughly inside and out. Run your finger along either side of the bottom rib bone to remove any old blood and flush thoroughly with water. Pull out any gunky stuff and remove some of the excess fat around the neck (or where the neck used to be). Pat dry with a paper towel. Now on to the recipe…
ROAST CHICKEN PARISIAN STYLE
6-6 1/2 lb. whole chicken
6 Tbsp. butter, softened (I know this sounds like a lot of butter, but it’s what makes this bird great!)
4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 large onion, peeled, cut into wedges
Olive oil for drizzling over top
Optional veggies for the roasting pan: peeled and cubed butternut squash; thick cut sliced carrots or parsnips; peeled, diced celeriac**, fennel or new potatoes-whole with skins.
The vegetable choices are nearly limitless if you stick to root-type veg they all will be delicious.
*Bouquet Garni, which literally means Garnished Bouquet in French (maybe this is also why I call this Parisian Chicken) is just a bunch of fresh herbs tied together with string. I like to grow herbs so pull together whatever I have handy. My Boquet Garni usually consists of Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Chives, Rosemary, but can include whatever herb you like. If you research Bouquet Garni, most recipes are very precise and call for 3 sprigs of this and 2 sprigs of that. Really not necessary; just grab whatever flavors you like and tie together with kitchen string. This is where I get into a little trouble as I cook by gut and instinct, not necessarily by exact measurement. I can assure you, the FUN of cooking is experimenting and you don’t really have to be that precise.
** Celeriac. I confess, I have a love affair with this root vegetable. Maybe because it is so hard to find it seems exotic; maybe because it is so ugly you have to love it, but the flavor is celery on steroids, but soft and round at the same time. It is a wonderful addition to roast chicken, peeled and cubed.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Now that your chicken is scrubbed and dry you are ready to begin.
Place your bird on a rack (or if you don’t have a rack, lay a few whole carrot sticks in the bottom of the pan and set the chicken on top) in a roasting pan deep enough to hold as many veggies as you plan to roast with the chicken. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper inside and out of your bird. Tuck the wings under the bird so the tips don’t burn. Bend them backwards until they stay under the carcass.
Make the Bouquet Garni and put it inside the cavity of your bird. Also add 2 of the smashed and chopped cloves of garlic, and about 1/3 of the sliced onion inside the bird.
Mash the remaining 2 cloves of garlic with 4 Tbsp. of butter.
Carefully insert your index and middle finger under the skin of the bird at the top of the breast and separate the skin from the bird creating an envelope to place the garlic butter under the skin so it is held between the skin and the meat; half on each side. Be sure to spread it completely (top to bottom) under the skin and be gentle so as not to tear the skin.
Tie the legs with kitchen string to help close the opening of the bird. You don’t have to be fancy about this, just make sure the legs are held together. As you may see in the picture above, I was out of kitchen string, so used chives to tie the legs; a little tricky as they break fairly easily, but braid a few strands together to make them stronger and it makes a chive rope that you can use to tie the legs.
Slather the last 2 Tbsp. of softened butter over the bird and sprinkle liberally with salt (this time use a good, course ground sea salt) and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Add to the roasting pan, surrounding the chicken, whatever chopped vegetables you choose and the rest of the onion (carrots, potatoes, and the onion are a nice simple choice and my favorite) and put into the hot oven uncovered and roast for 1 hour.
Baste very 20 minutes or so. If the skin of the bird is getting too well done, make a foil tent and continue roasting at 425 for another 20 minutes.
One way to tell if your bird is done is to move the legs. If they move freely and smoothly, you’re probably done. Another way to tell is to run a knife between the leg and thigh. If the juices run clear (opposed to bloody), you’re done.
Let rest for 20 minutes before carving, otherwise you will lose the juices of the bird as they won’t have time to reabsorb and the chicken will be dry.
Once you’ve feasted on your Roast Chicken Parisian style, possibly with new potatoes, baby carrots and steamed peas you are ready to tear apart what’s left of the bird and make chicken stock.
I invite you to contact me if you have questions about roasting your own bird or if you want more details or suggestions on making your own beautiful roast chicken. Please contact me at: http://globalgrants.net/contact.html. I would love to hear from you!
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