Poulet en Cocotte: Chicken in a Pot!
Do you really need another recipe for roasting a whole chicken?
Yes, you do.
All summer I was obsessed with spatchcock grilling, bothering my butcher weekly to butterfly a chicken for me. "Can you please remove the back and neckbone, thank you!".
Now that the grill cover is on, I wanted something new.
How about Poulet en Cocotte? I see that on French bistro menus often, and when I do order it, I am always surprised how moist and succulent the bird is.
Warning: there won't be much crispy skin to fight over, this is more about the meat.
The idea is you brown the chicken first, throw some vegetables in, then you cover it tightly with foil, put the lid on and steam it in the oven.
This is the perfect winter roast bird. It makes the house smell so good, you almost want to have stuffing and cranberry sauce to go with it.
Chicken in a Pot: (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped medium
1 small celery stalk, chopped medium
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
Adjust over rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250F degrees.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken, breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.
Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6-8 more minutes.
Remove from heat, place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted into thickest part of breast and 175 in thickest part of thigh, (mine took 110 minutes for a 4.5 lb. bird).
Let the chicken rest in a tent of foil for 20 minutes, then carve.
You can strain the juices/gravy if you like, then boil them down to make a nice smooth sauce, but I am happy just pouring the cooked veggies w/ pan drippings, fat and all, over the chicken.
This was so good, it almost makes me happy to have winter back again (well, maybe I am going a little bit too far).