Months before we moved, I started to dream about what our first meal in our new home would be. I actually didn’t have to dream for very long, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. A lovely, moist and tender, super simple, guaranteed successful whole chicken.
The first time I made this recipe it was to christen my new Le Creuset Dutch oven. The Dutch oven was a wedding gift from my brother and I was really excited to use it. While looking for recipes I was specifically looking for a recipe that required a Dutch oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, I highly recommend them. It is a real kitchen workhorse and you can cook everything in it, including simple things like pasta. I swear, even water boils faster in it than in my stainless steel pots.
This recipe originally came from Cook’s Illustrated and they call it French Chicken in a Pot. It requires very little work, about 20 minutes of prep and hands on cooking, then you pop it in the oven and forget about it. I have probably made this chicken at least a dozen times and the recipe never disappoints. The results are spectacular, the chicken is ultra moist and tender and practically falls off of the bone. The other fantastic part about it, and why I wanted to make it first, is that you get a lot of chicken juice at the end. Cook’s Illustrated suggests serving the chicken with its juices, which is delicious. I also freeze the leftover juice and use it as stock in other recipes.
The original recipe is still available on their website, but you have to have a subscription to view it. If you have ever followed a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, they can be intimidating. I swear this one is not.
What is your favorite “homey” recipe?
Poulet à la Cocotte (French Chicken in a Pot)
A note: I have made this recipe mostly with fresh chickens, but I did make it with a frozen duck this past week, and it was delicious. (I need to seriously start learning German!) If you are using frozen poultry, let it thaw at least overnight before starting to cook. If it is still a bit frozen, you will probably end up with a less flavorful, more watery dinner.
1 4.5 to 5lb chicken
2 tsps salt
ground black pepper
2 tbs olive oil or enough to coat the bottom of your Dutch oven
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, sliced into small pieces
6 peeled cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp lemon juice
Supplies: Dutch oven, aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 250°F/120°C
- Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in the Dutch oven on medium high heat until hot. Gently place chicken into the pot. Wait about one minute then sprinkle the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf and rosemary over the chicken and into the pot.
- Let chicken brown about 8 minutes then flip it to the other side and let it brown for another 8 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from heat. Cover the Dutch oven with one sheet of aluminum foil then cover with the Dutch oven lid.
- Place the Dutch oven into the oven and cook about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 180°.
- When chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it sit for a few minutes on a carving board before carving.
- In the meantime, strain the chicken juices using a mesh sieve. Press onto solids to extract more juice. Add lemon juice to chicken juices.
- Serve chicken with juice.