Saturday, January 19, 2013

Le Poulet Roti Grand -Maman

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If you are expecting a lot of very sophisticated ingredients in this recipe, you will be very disappointed.  What makes this the tenderest most succulent chicken you have ever had is the way in which it's cooked.  C'est tout.

When you think about it, the roasting method is brilliant. The chicken is cooked first on one side, then the other and finally on its back.  Just like in a rotisserie.   When a chicken is roasted like this, there is less of a chance of drying out the breast than if it sits on its back the whole time it's cooking .  Finally, once roasted, the bird is turned to rest, tail up in the air so the juices flow down through the breast making it a perfectly moist bird.  I know, you are smiling....and you are not the only one but trust me, it works... it comes out really, really moist and divine.

 I love roasted carrots with chicken so I added some to the roasting pan with the chicken 15 minutes into the cooking and mixed them up a bit with the juices. It was the crowning glory.

I love to entertain guests for Sunday dinner, particularly in winter.  I know for a fact that bachelors and New Yorkers are particularly appreciative of a home cooked meal at the end of the week.  For the hostess it's a chance to gather friends for a casual, simple and relaxed dinner.  No fuss, just turn on the fireplace and send them home early and well fed.  What could be simpler! Oh, and if you are worried about the smoke...there isn't any.

Sunday Night Dinner A La Francaise

Fresh Mushroom Salad With Parmesan Shavings
Grandmother's Roast Chicken
Roast Carrots (optional)

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied Burgundy such as a Volnay

Poulet Roti Grand-Maman

Makes: 4 to 6 servings


1 free range roasting chicken (about 5 pounds), with giblets
1 1/2 tablespoons butter ( I used 2) extra for greasing roasting pan
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 whole heads plump garlic unpeeled, cut in half horizontally
1 large sprig of rosemary
1 large sprig of thyme
(I spread Herbs de Provence all over the chicken)


Remove chicken and butter from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature 20 minutes. Chop giblets.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease a roasting dish* with softened butter. The roasting dish should not be much bigger than the chicken.  Season chicken generously and evenly, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Truss the bird (this is important so it will brown evenly) Spread  butter all over bird, using a pastry brush if desired.

Place bird in prepared dish on its side, thigh and wing down. I placed mine on a rack on top of my roasting pan. Scatter the chopped giblets all around chicken, but not beneath it. Put chicken in preheated oven and roast uncovered 20  minutes. Baste the chicken.

Remove from oven and turn chicken onto its other side, thigh and wing side down, using tongs or large fork. Be sure chicken rests on the roasting dish, not the giblets. Pour 3 tablespoons water over chicken and return it to oven for another 20 minutes.

 Remove chicken from oven and reposition bird on its back, and rotate it a quarter turn. Cook 20 minutes. You will have cooked the chicken a total of 1 hour.  By this time the chicken should be a golden color.  Reduce the temperature to 375, baste again and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove chicken to a platter. Puncture thigh joint to check for doneness: juices should run clear with no trace of blood. (put some of these juices back in the roasting pan for the sauce) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken at an angle, breast side down with tail-end propped up (so the bird is almost vertical; ramekins may help hold the chicken in place here, too) .Loosely tent with foil, turn the oven off and place the chicken back in the oven with the door ajar.  Allow chicken to rest 20 minutes. It will continue to cook.

 Don't laugh...this is serious.

Meanwhile make the sauce:

Place the baking dish over moderate heat scraping any bits that cling to the bottom/ cook for 2 to 3 minutes until liquid is almost caramelized. Don't let it burn. Discard excess fat with a spoon.  Add several tablespoons cold water to deglaze and bring nack to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and place in a sauceboat.

Carve the chicken.  Serve with the half garlics and the sauce.

Cooks Note:  If you see that there are not enough juices to baste the chicken with, add about 3TB water to the pan and mix with the drippings.  Don't add too much water or it will steam instead of roast.

All photos Lindaraxa


  1. There's nothing like a roast chicken -- I will have to try your method.

    1. I think once you try it this way you won't do it any other way. Works for me!

  2. Good to know that I'm not the only one roasting chickens in this manner!
    I call it Flipping The Bird. Though in my kitchen the approach is simplified--
    roasting the bird upright until the last half hour, when it is turned breast downward.
    This ensures properly roasted dark meat, and there is the bonus of moister breast
    meat. Works beautifully every time. Just did one earlier this evening as a matter of

    1. Wow Toby, now we have two things in common, the flu and this roast chicken!

  3. Julieta, this IS the best way to roast a bird. I tried this method once with a turkey...don't ask. It was a physical feat. A chicken would be much easier.

    Hope you are feeling better. This is a terrible flu season.

    1. I can't imagine trying this with a big bird. I felt lucky I could swing a 5 lbs. chicken! Better yes, though not completely over. Frankly it's getting embarassing. Going now into the fifth week.

  4. Delicious...but what about putting some wine and chicken stock in your gravy?

    Best from snowy



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