Sunday, December 7, 2014

Good Woman Chicken


A few years ago, my mother gave me Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I haven't really delved much into it since it's a little daunting.  There are no pictures, and the way the recipes are written in blocks makes it difficult to follow.  But I was looking for a roasted chicken dinner for the holidays, so I jumped in with both feet.

I came across her recipe for Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme.  The translation for that is "chicken in casserole good woman," ha ha.  She used a whole chicken trussed up and roasted the chicken and vegetables all together.  I used a whole cut up chicken since I thought it would be a lot easier to work with.  I added butternut squash, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and apples.  It was amazing and impressive.  Doesn't it look beautiful?  This is a great meal for a dinner party.  All you need with it is some buttery rolls and dessert!

GOOD WOMAN CHICKEN
1 whole cut up chicken (bone in, skin on)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
8 ounces brown mushrooms, halved
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
2 apples, cut into cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (remove the stem first)
7-8 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 sprig rosemary, minced (remove the stem first)
2 T butter
1/2 C white wine

NOTE:  Searing the chicken over high heat can cause the butter and bacon grease to spatter, so be careful.  The grease spattered when I was cooking it and it shot out and burned me on the inside of my ear, ha ha.  It even left a blister.  Also, you may find that the chicken breasts still have some rib bones attached.  You can leave them on.  I cut the extra bones off so the breasts would look nicer.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Generously season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.  In a large dutch oven or roasting pan (something that has a lid), cook the bacon on the stovetop.  When the bacon is done, remove the bacon but leave the grease in the pan.  Add in the 2 T butter and turn the heat up high.  Place the chicken skin side down in the pan and cook and sear the skin until it's browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.  

Turn the heat down to medium high.  Add in the mushrooms and onions and cook until they start to get tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the wine and deglaze the pan.  Add in all the veggies and the bacon, herbs, and garlic, season them with salt and pepper, and stir.  Place the chicken skin side up over the veggies.  Cover the pot and roast in the oven for about 1 hour and up to 1 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer registers the chicken at 165 degrees and the veggies are tender.  Remove the lid and turn on the broiler.  Broil the chicken a few minutes to brown up the skin again.

Loosely adapted from Three Beans on a String

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