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!
CINDY’S CHICKEN STOCK
First, cut off whatever is left of good meat on the chicken, both breast and thighs, for another meal or use for chicken salad or chicken croquettes. Save some chicken pieces if you are making chicken soup. Once the carcass is fairly clean of meat, pull the bones apart and put in a large saucepan. Crack the whole bird in half so legs, ribs and all other bones fit in pot and can easily be covered with water.
Most stocks start with a mirepoix (pronounced meer pwah) which is a traditional French mix of carrots, onions and celery. This is the back bone of most stocks, chicken included. I generally use 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped; 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly sliced; and 3 stalks of celery, sliced in chunks. That is where the mirepoix ends.
I also add 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, about 1 Tbsp. of salt; 1 tsp. of black pepper and 2 qts.of water to your chicken bones. Bring to boil and then turn heat way down and slow simmer for about 2 hours. Turn off heat and let sit covered for another hour. Strain through collander into a big bowl. I set the collander with bones and veg aside and when cool my husband likes to dive into it and eat whatever is left on the bones along with the carrots and celery.
You may have heard of Double Chicken Stock. That is when you make a chicken stock (as above) and then re-do the whole thing, but instead of using water to boil the bones, use the chicken stock you have just made. It makes the stock super-rich. Get creative and add whatever herbs and spices appeal to you. There are no mistakes in the kitchen!
Having home-made chicken stock in the freezer makes me feel secure, happy, and well-balanced. I know that may sound weird, but you can do so much with stock that it is nice to have around at all times.
TUSCAN CHICKEN SOUP
I think I would be remiss if I didn’t give you at least one suggestion for using your new beautiful chicken stock so here is a hearty robust soup I like to make any time of the year, but especially good on a cool fall night, served with garlic bread and a simple green salad. This is another recipe I created that can be changed in so many ways…add roasted red pepper, mushrooms, artichoke hearts…whatever Tuscan treasure comes to mind!
2 qts. chicken stock (which you just made!)
3 leeks***, white only, about 1 1/2 cups sliced thin
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 potatoes, peeled, sliced thin
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
5 sweet Italian sausage, out of casing
1 big bunch Kale-chopped with biggest spines removed
Salt/Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish
***To clean leeks, wash, wash, wash. Leeks collect dirt in between their many layers so sometimes you have to almost pull them apart to clean them.
In a heavy saute or fry pan saute leeks in 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil on low heat until soft, but not brown.
Add freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
Add minced garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes, but don’t let garlic brown.
Remove leeks and garlic, set aside, but leave oil in pan.
Turn heat to medium-high and add sausages removed from skin (to remove sausage from skin, hold one end of sausage and press or squeeze out like a tube of tooth paste until all the filling is removed–sometimes it is easier to start in the middle, screw up the whole sausage and work both ways to get out the filling), to the pan. Crumble with a wooden spoon or my favorite utensil, a heat-proof rubber spatula so sausage is in bite-sized chunks. Cook until it is browned.
Add leeks/garlics back into sausage mixture and turn off heat.
Bring 2 qts. chicken stock to slow boil in a large stock pot and add sliced potatoes. Let cook for about 10 minutes.
Add leeks, garlic, sausage and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add chopped kale and cook until wilted–about another 15 minutes if you are serving right away. Otherwise, add Kale and turn off heat. Cool and re-heat for next day serving.
I like to serve this soup with freshly grated parmesan on the side. You can also offer hot dried pepper, fresh basil or whatever comes to your mind.
This soup is delicious served second day. It also freezes well.
Next time I want to talk about LAMB!…how to prepare a rolled, boneless leg…one of my all-time favorites, especially as Easter is approaching! Until then, happy cooking and hope you are enjoying my food-talk.