I didn't grow up on whole roasted chicken. My mom would always buy chicken already in portions, and then cook it in many different ways and it tasted amazing. I must have been about eight when I asked my mom to cook whole roasted chicken. At the time and often still I thought, this is the most elegant dish. My mom's whole roasted chicken looked just like the ones in old recipe books or TV commercials; golden in colour, crispy skin and moist.
There are countless variations when roasting chicken, but I like mine, simple. The fresh tarragon, the garlic and the herb-y cheese here give such wonderful flavours. The only change I made to the recipe below is, I use butter instead of olive oil. Olive oil is great but nothing crisps up the skin like butter...
Next, to truss or not to truss, that is the question. I think it depends on the size of the chicken, I don't bother most of the time to be honest.
When the chicken is cooked, like any other meat, it's good to let it rest for a little bit to let all the juices come back to the centre.
Everybody has their own culinary disasters, and for me, one of them is carving. I cannot carve to save my life and I normally just ended up tearing the chicken and my excuse is "it looks more rustic". I still tried though and today it looked kinda alright. Martha Stewart would have been proud.
I serve the chicken with some cooked green beans and peas, dressed with the juices from the chicken. And no wine tonight. I still need to finish my essay...
Poulet rôti tout simplement
by Stéphane Reynaud
1 Whole chicken, preferable organic
1 Boursin-style cheese with garlic and fines herbes
1 Bunch of fresh tarragon
3 Cloves garlic
- Remove the chicken's innards, and reserve the heart and liver.
- Peel the garlic, fill the chicken with the cheese, garlic, tarragon and reserved giblets.
- Oil the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cook uncovered in pre-heated 200C oven for an hour, basting the chicken regularly. Cut the chicken into portions and dress it with a mixture of melted cheese and cooking juices.