Thursday, January 10, 2008

Last Night's Dinner #75: Succulent Chicken in a Pot

My apartment smells so good right now - it smells like chicken noodle soup! This is by far one of the best (if not THE BEST) chicken recipes that I have ever cooked.

It's hard to explain, but the chicken flavor was extraordinary. The meat was tender and the white meat, unconventionally flavorful (and I don't usually like white meat). A knockout simple dish and perfect with grilled potatoes and carrots. Love love love, this one is definitely a keeper.

This recipe uses a dry cooking technique. Unlike braising, where you cook the meat with wine or broth and other vegetables - this technique allows the chicken to cook in its own juices, allowing the flavors to be reabsorbed thus giving it a really concentrated flavor.

Succulent French Chicken in a Pot
From Cook's Illustrated

You'll need:
5-8 quart dutch oven is recommended
1 whole roasting chicken, giblets removed (mine was about 3.5 pounds)
1 small onion coarsely chopped
1 small celery stalk coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
A couple sprigs of thyme or rosemary if you have some around
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tbs olive or grapeseed oil

Heat the oven to 250F degrees

Heat up oil in the dutch oven over medium heat (stovetop). Once you see the oil smoking, add chicken breast-side down. Add onion, celery, bay leaf and herbs around the chicken. After about 5 minutes, turn the bird over.

Cook for another 6 minutes or so until the chicken and veggies are well browned. I also browned the sides of the bird. Mix the veggies every now and then to get an even browning.

Remove from heat and cover your pot with aluminum foil then cover tightly with the lid. Transfer pot to the oven, on the lowest rack possible. Cook for about one hour and fifteen minutes (3.0 - 3.5 pounds) or 80 to 110 minutes for 5.0 - 6.0 pounds. Be careful not to overcook.

Insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast - it should read 175 F degrees.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil (let rest for 20 minutes). Carve chicken and save carcass for chicken soup or make some homemade chicken broth.

In the meantime, strain the juices through a fine sieve or strainer. Separate the fat if you have a fat separator or transfer the juice into a small container and stick it in the fridge. The chicken fat will rise and solidify at the top - you'll be able to easily scoop it out with a spoon.

Pour the juices into a pan, add lemon juice and salt (if necessary) to taste. Drizzle juice over chicken.

I served it with grilled baby potatoes and carrots.


Karen said...

was this inspired by Rachel Rae? she had a cool chicken recipe on her show yesterday...she incorporated olives (which is something you would probably like) - i personally don't like olives, but would give her recipe a try.


How funny. It was actually from Cook's Illustrated - which hopefully you'll be getting soon! I'm telling you, it is THE BEST. I've learned so much from it.

Oddly enough, I'm not a huge olive fan either. I'll eat them but I generally don't crave them (ever).

Karen said...

here's rachel ray's recipe for Roast Citrus Chicken With Lemon-Thyme Gravy: