Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

 

 

 

I recently read that the test of a good cook is if she/he could roast a chicken. I have tried multiple recipes and had many failures. However, this is the one recipe that produced a tender and juicy roasted chicken every time. I originally started with Julia Child’s recipe and improvised to make it easier. This is my take on a roasted chicken.

Ingredients:

  • One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Butter
  • Fresh herbs (dried as an alternative)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425
  • Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. Salt and pepper the cavity and place vegetables and fresh herbs inside the cavity; whatever you have in the pantry work (carrots, celery, onion, and lemon). Massage the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter
  • Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is about 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan. (Thoroughly wash all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw chicken)
  • Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as follows: At 15 minutes Brush the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Scatter the onion and carrot all around the pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. At 45 minutes Brush the lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the vegetables to prevent burning. At 60 minutes Baste with the pan juices. Test to see if done: The drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°
  • Spear the chicken through the shoulders; lift to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes; discard the string
  • Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain and serve with chicken.
  • Alternatively; you can boil the giblets in water with salt, pepper and bay leaves and make a gravy out of the drippings

Coq Au Vin

Every other Friday my best friend Dawn comes over with her son and I make a new dish. Having a meal with friends makes it so much more fun. This recipe called for adding cognac and then lighting it on fire. That was a blast and now I want to find more dishes that I get to light on fire. This is the one and only Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Ingredients;
3 to 4 oz chunk of lean bacon
2 TBS butter
2 – 3 lb chicken, cut up.
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups full-bodied red wine
1 to 2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 TBS tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp thyme
12 to 24 brown-braised onions
1/2 lb sauteed mushrooms
salt and pepper
3 TB flour
2 TB softened butter

Directions;
Remove the rind of the bacon and cut into lardons. Simmer for 10 minutes, rinse in cold water and dry. Use a 10 inch fireproof casserole dish. Saute the bacon slowly in hot butter (2 TB) until it is lightly brown. Remove to a side dish.

Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat. Season the chicken, return bacon, cover and cook for 10 minutes turning the chicken once.
Uncover and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, light the cognac with a match and shake until the flames subside.

Add wine, stock, tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to simmer, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. While the chicken is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Recipes are as follows:

Brown Braised Onions

Ingredients:

18-24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter

1 Tbs butter

1 1/2 Tbs oil

1/2 cup beef stock, wine, or water. (red or white wine is fine)

salt and pepper to taste

A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme.

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onion and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Pour in the liquid, season to taste, add the herbs. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes.

Sauteed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs oil

1/2 lb fresh mushrooms

Directions:

Heat the butter and oil and as soon as it starts to foam add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes. As soon as they have browned

Returning to Coq Au Vin recipe

Remove the chicken to a side dish.

Simmer the chicken cooking liquid for a minute or two skimming off the fat. Raise heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Season and discard bay leaf. Blend the butter and flour into a paste and beat into hot liquid with a wire whip until thick enough to coat a spoon.

Place chicken, onions, and mushrooms together and baste with sauce.

Chocolate Mousse Dessert Cake

Julia-Child_Julia-tasting-BW_s4x3_lg

This is a classic recipe from Julia Child. A rich delicious chocolate cake that does not need frosting. I watched her make this one on her show and she made it look so simple, as she often does. However, there are many steps and it can be a little tricky with the water baths but worth the effort and a great treat for the holidays.

Ingredients;

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pound of chocolate (14 oz semi-sweet, 2 oz unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup dark Jamaican rum
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
  • 1 TBS vanilla

Directions;
Butter and flour a 10 cup cake pan, have a piece of wax paper buttered as well and place on bottom of cake pan.
Whip eggs and sugar.
Melt chocolate, rum, and coffee in water bath and add vanilla to chocolate mixture.
Whip heavy cream into soft whip cream.
Fold chocolate into beaten eggs and sugar then fold whip cream into mixture, pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees in water bath for 1 hour. Leave in pan of water, oven off for 30 minutes.
Remove carefully from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Beef Bourguignon

One of the reasons I bought Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was for this recipe. I finally decided to try it and although it is a lot of work, I would have to agree with Julia Child that it is one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, or maybe a woman concocted it. Regardless, its worth the effort. I recommend a pan that is stove top and oven adaptable. I used a stock pot for cooking and served in a casserole dish.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz chunk of bacon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as Chianti
  • 2-3 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18-24 small white onions, brown braised in stock (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (recipe follows)

Directions:

Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 in long) Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Saute the bacon in the oil for 2-3 minutes, remove to side dish. Saute the beef in bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides, set it aside with bacon.

Saute the carrots and onion in the same fat then pour out the sauteing fat. Add the beef and bacon to the vegetables and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour and toss to coat. Set in oven uncovered, middle rack, for 4 minutes. Toss again and return to oven for 4 more minutes. Remove and turn down oven to 350 degrees.

On the stove top, stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer then cover and set in lower third of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Assure the meat if covered with liquid at all time and it’s simmering slowly.

While the beef is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set aside as needed.

Brown Braised Onions

Ingredients:

  • 18-24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock, wine, or water. (red or white wine is fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme.

Directions:

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onion and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Pour in the liquid, season to taste, add the herbs. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes.

Sauteed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms

Directions:

Heat the butter and oil and as soon as it starts to foam add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly remove from heat.

Back to the Bourguignon:

When the meat is tender pour the contents into a sieve over a saucepan. Return the beef to pan and distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat. Skim fat off the sauce and simmer down until a consistency you like. Pour sauce over meat and simmer 2-3 minutes. Serve

Pot Roast by Julia and Jacques