Monday, 22 November 2010

Poulet rôti tout simplement

Or in simple English: roast chicken, pure and simple.

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
Serves 4

1 Whole chicken, preferable organic
1 Boursin-style cheese with garlic and fines herbes
1 Bunch of fresh tarragon
3 Cloves garlic
Sea Salt
Olive oil
  1. Remove the chicken's innards, and reserve the heart and liver.
  2. Peel the garlic, fill the chicken with the cheese, garlic, tarragon and reserved giblets.
  3. Oil the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. 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.


  1. I have yet to roast a chicken, turkey no problem. Not sure why I have never done chicken, I just bought a new roasting pan and I need to try out this recipe for sure.

  2. What a beautiful roast chicken, a true classic indeed!!

  3. Martha would be proud! It looks perfect. And I'm so glad you translated the name. At first my mind went blank and I was like . . ugh, what's that? I barely remember french.

  4. A simple roasted chicken is by far the easiest yet most delicious dish yet. I love this post!

  5. Looks absolutely wonderful, Michael! I love that this uses the flavored cheese! YUM!

  6. Michael, your roasted chicken looks the idea of filling it with cheese...must taste SO SO yummie :-)

  7. Nothing better than a roast chicken; and this one, stuffed with boursin, looks fabulous! Can't wait to try it, the flavors must be wonderful.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. That is a gorgeous looking bird. Your recipe sounds amazing and I'll wager it is delicious as well. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. Hi Michael - I'm not quite sure why it won't let you become a follower. Please do try again!
    Oh, and your bird looks lovely!

    Christina of Form V Artisan

  10. cant beat a good roast chicken delicious - rebecca

  11. Haha, Michael, I was like you growing up. I thought the chicken roamed the countryside in those separate little pieces my mum used to cook! The first time I had whole roast chicken, I was in shock that the pieces were all stuck That's probably why I suck at carving, too! Your poulet looks utterly juicy and delicious, and that Boursin stuffing has taken it up one level!

  12. Like you, my mom too would buy chickens that were already cut up, and roast pieces. I am the 'whole chicken roaster' of our family - my mom will ask me to make one sometimes now.
    Yours looks delicious - and as you said, very elegant.

  13. No wine :( Your roasted chicken looks perfect, and nice job with the carving :) I never carve...
    I let my sons do that one ;)

  14. Oh my. This looks so moist and delicious. I don't think your carving looks bad at all.