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Rachael’s Fabulous Chicken Dinner

December 6, 2010

My second adventure with Julia Child and her guide to French cooking! And I must say, I think it is as successful as my attempt, Cream of Mushroom Soup. I love cooking whole birds, not really sure why, but I think it has something to do with achieving the perfect skin. Plus, nothing feels like a real meal as a turkey dinner or a roasted chicken. I intended to cook duck today, but when I went shopping earlier this week I could not find a duck at any of the grocery stores I frequent….then this evening I go to my local grocery store (very small, go there for last minute things) and THEY have duck, though frozen.

I am actually going to share three recipes with you today, all coming from Mastering the Art of French Cooking– a recipe for dark chicken broth, the roasted chicken, and a method of jazzing up frozen peas.

Finished product

Brown Chicken Stock
Ingredients:

1 chicken neck (from the roasting chicken)
1 sliced onion
1 sliced carrot
1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of chicken broth or water
2 parsley sprigs
1/3 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon of thyme

Instructions:
1. Brown the chicken neck and the veggies in the oil, cooking until brown.
2. Add the broth and spices. Simmer over medium low heat for about 1.5 hours.

This dark broth came out thick and rich, and it ended up being perfect for jazzing up my peas, as well as filling out the chicken cream sauce.

Poulet Roti a la Normande (Roast Chicken Basted with Cream, Herb, and Giblet Stuffing)

Ingredients:
1 roasting/fryer chicken, around 5 lbs (save the innards)
1 tablespoon of butter
1tablespoon of minced green onion
2/3 cup of bread crust (I actually used a hardened baguette )
4 tablespoons of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of softened butter
3 tablespoons of minced parsley
1/8 teaspoon of thyme
1/8 teaspoon of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup of whipping cream
3 tablespoons of brown chicken stock (see recipe above)
3 to 4 tablespoons of whipping cream
lemon juice

Instructions:
1. Saute the gizzard in hot butter and oil for 2 minutes. Add the heart, liver, and onions (all chopped). Saute for 2 minutes more, or until the liver has stiffened but is still rosy on the inside. Scrape into a mixing bowl.
2. Blend the bread crumbs, cream cheese, butter, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper in the mixing bowl with the gizzard mix.

3. Sprinkle salt inside the bird and then fill with stuffing. Rub the skin with butter (note: I also stuffed garlic cloves, butter, and parsley under the skin of the bird.

3. Roast the chicken in the over for around 1:45 minutes- 2 hours, or until the internal temperature is 190 degrees. Make sure to bast with butter or broth throughout. About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, remove all but a spoonful of the juices. Then begin basting the cream over the chicken, 3-4 tablespoons at a time, every 3-4 minutes. The cream may look curdled, but don’t worry, it’s not.

4. Remove the chicken from the roaster, and lightly salt it.
5. Add the dark stock to the cream in the roasting pan, and heat until boiling. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the edges to get the excess chicken residue.
6. Remove cream from heat, add the last of the cream a tablespoon at a time, stirring to smooth. Add a couple drops of lemon juice and season as needed.
7. Spoon some sauce over the chicken, and serve the rest on the side.

I LOVED the stuffing. It was so creamy and warm and delicious. I would never have thought to put cream cheese in stuffing, but it went so nicely with the cream sauce. I also think that having a hardened baguette made a difference too (if I am being honest here, I would have to tell you that the baguette had already made its way to the kitchen trash, but I salvaged it. Never fear, the bread was encased in its paper bag).

The cream basting was interesting. I was skeptical, especially when the cookbook said that it would look like it was curdling. However, the cream sauce went wonderfully with everything in the meal.

Peas (a way to jazz up frozen peas)
Ingredients:

10 oz. of frozen peas
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of green onions
1/4 teaspoon of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup of dark chicken stock

Instructions:
1. Bring the butter, green onions, salt, pepper, and stock (the same stuff I made above) to a boil in a sauce pan.

2. Add the frozen peas and boil for 5-6 minutes covered. Uncover and rapidly boil until most of the liquid is gone.

This simple recipe truly did make the peas pop. And they were the perfect companion to the chicken.

Overall, this meal turned out wonderful. The chicken was juicy, the stuffing blew my mind, and the peas complimented everything. I had a couple self-critiques that I will share. I didn’t get the chicken as crispy as I would have liked. I think next time I will wait an additional 10-15 minutes before I add the cream, to allow the skin to get a bit more crispy. Also, I had some trouble getting the cream sauce thick. I am not sure if it’s supposed to be thick or thin, but I envisioned it being thick…and it didn’t end up being so. This may have been because I transferred the cream to a clean pan, leaving behind precious chicken residue.

I am truly enjoying my French cooking experience. Such rich, filling foods. Two recipes down, hundreds more to go!

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2 Comments
  1. Stanko! permalink

    not to take away from this AMAZING dish and the process that went into it, but I have to say I laughed out loud at the picture of the chicken bent over with its butt sticking up in the air…that’s how mature I am 🙂

  2. Bahahahaha, you are the best Stanko!

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