Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poulet en Cocotte de Bonne Femme

An old favorite of roast chicken and fresh, organic root vegetables results in "comfort food" that's a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite. Golden-brown and moist chicken accompanied by colorful, flavorful vegetables that almost melt in your mouth. It's the perfect supper for a February evening that promises snow.



Ingredients

3-4 pound pastured chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, cut in eighths
3 carrots, cut in 1/4-inch julienne strips
1 cup celery, cut in 1/4-inch julienne strips
2 cups new potatoes, cut in eights
4 slices bacon
4 tablespoons butter
Bouquet garni made of parsley and a bay leaf
Salt & pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the chicken quickly under cold running water and dry it thoroughly inside and out with paper towels.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a Dutch oven. Dice the bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry it in the butter. When crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

3. Brown the chicken in the butter and bacon drippings, breast first, then both sides and back. When the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the pan and discard the fat.

4. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan. To prepare for roasting, saute' the vegetables in butter for a few minutes, stirring often to ensure they are well glazed, i.e., coated with fat.

5. Remove the vegetables. Return the chicken to the pan, breast side up. Arrange the vegetables around it.  Scatter the crispy bacon over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, add the bouquet garni and cover the pan. If the cover isn't snug, drape a piece of foil over the chicken before putting on the pan lid.

6. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven, basting occasionally. Start testing for done-ness after 1-1/4 hours. The chicken is done when the juices run clear from the breast when it is pierced with a fork and the drumsticks easily pull away. (This is over 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.)

7. To serve, transfer the chicken to a warm platter, arranging the vegetables attractively around it. You can reduce the juices in the pan a bit and serve on the side if you wish. The chicken can be carved at table.

Chef's note: when the chicken is almost gone, the carcass makes a lovely soup stock.

~Recipe adapted from Cooking of Provincial France. Time-Life Foods-of-the-World
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