French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version (the final recipe!)

Around my French Table Chicken in a pot for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comWell my friends. Here we are. The final recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table for French Fridays with Dorie. I’ve cooked the whole book. Every recipe. What started as a little project I though I might take part in “when time permits” in October 2010 has turned into a huge part of my blog/life. I’ve learned SO much. I’ve made lasting friendships. And most of all, Neil, my family, friends, neighbours and colleagues(and I!)  have eaten well. Very well.

Over the next few weeks, the French Fridays with Dorie crew will be looking back at some of the milestone moments over the past 4+ years to help ease us gently out of our Friday habits so, for now, let’s talk about this week’s recipe – Chicken in a Pot (the cover recipe, page 206). Ever since I’ve had this book, I’ve wanted to cook this recipe. I’ve read this recipe a number of times yet hadn’t really realised that this was NOT a roast chicken (as the cover might lead you to believe):

AMFT cover on eatlivetravelwrite.comI mean, right – it just looks like a lovely chicken roasted nicely in some roasted veggies. In a pot. Sealed shut with a ring of dough. I’ll admit I hadn’t given much thought to what purpose what the dough ring might serve other than it looked pretty in the picture. Dorie says it seals the pot tight so the flavours infuse into the chicken better.

Ok, so I got that part down…

Dorie Greenspan chicken in a pot for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comMy first attempt at the recipe was using a whole chicken. The recipe calls for browning the chicken all over and I found that very challenging. It didn’t brown all that well and not evenly at all but I popped it into the pot (snugly, as the recipe called for) and sealed it tight with the ring of dough. I wondered about the quantity of liquid used for the amount of vegetables (I thought it was too much) and of course, with the pot sealed tight, none of it evaporated and my vegetables were soggy and the bottom half of my chicken was poached and falling off the bone tender. But the top was still only slightly brown. And the bottom of the chicken was purple because I had used heirloom carrots. So it really wasn’t pretty. We ate it and it tasted ok but it was underwhelming.

I re-evaluated the recipe, realising (thanks Trevor) that my expectations, not the recipe, were wonky. This is NOT a roast chicken. And I do so love a roast chicken. And roasted vegetables. So I guess because it didn’t meet THOSE expectations, it was underwhelming, even a little disappointing. I also don’t see the point of taking all the extra steps to cook this in an airtight sealed pot when roasting a chicken and vegetables is so easy. But hey, Dorie says, so…. I made it again.

This time with bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts which were MUCH easier to work with and get an even browning. Also, Neil was away last weekend and I didn’t think I needed to cook an entire chicken (again). I roasted the vegetables for a lot longer this time too, to get some caramelization going on the potatoes and onions, and I used about 1/2 the quantity of liquid the recipe called for.

 Et voilà:

Chicken in a pot for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comMUCH better this time. Perhaps not quite what Dorie was intending but a compromise of sorts. If I’ve learned nothing over the past four years, 7 months and 21 days (thanks again Trevor for doing the count!), it’s that Dorie wants us to play with her recipes. Have fun. Experiment. Learn. Right Cher? So, even though I feel slightly guilty that I didn’t LOVE the final recipe, I know Dorie will be ok with that. I know she’ll be ok that I changed it up a little to suit myself better. And I also know she’ll be ok if I say you know what? After all that, I still prefer a good roast chicken.

I *am* sorry I didn’t get the magnificent shot of the whole roasted chicken in the pot. But hey, closing the book on some 300+ recipes, I can’t say there have been any more than maybe 5 recipes that didn’t turn out “well”. This is an excellent book. It’s a book I recommend almost daily to friends and colleagues looking for a “good basic French cookbook”.

Thanks, Dorie. It’s been a wonderful and tasty ride these past 4+ years.

Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken in a Pot (the garlic and lemon version) here.

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French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

Please note: The product links from Amazon, and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!



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24 thoughts on “French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version (the final recipe!)”

  1. Oh, Mardi. I think this ended the way it needed to. With us figuring out how to make it work 🙂
    I am impressed with your persistence on this one.

  2. What an adventure! And yes, you’re right, I’m okay with everything you did, more than okay. But now, 6 years after finishing writing Around My French Table, you made me realize that I should have made it clear that this is a braised chicken, not a roasted chicken. In the traditional recipes, neither the chicken nor the vegetables is roasted. They’re just tucked into the pot and cooked and they all come out pale and soft. I actually love the dish that way, but thought a little pre-browning would be more appealing. So we’ve all played with this dish!

    I’m glad you’ll be easing your way out of the project – a looong celebration is what’s called for – xo

  3. You are so determined making this twice just to get it right and you did. Absolutely gorgeous. I did find it interesting that Candy didn’t put any liquid in… hmmm, want to make it again and see what happens. I bet the bird itself would generate enough liquid? Congrats on finishing the book impressive how you even cooked the fish recipes you didn’t like. I would never be so dedicated… very admirable.

  4. What Cher said. I am, as always, impressed by your persistence. If I were ever to make this dish again (and I probably won’t) I would skip the browning of both the chicken and the vegetables, and skip the weird preparation of the preserved lemons. Sugar water? I bet the dish comes out just as good… perhaps not book cover good, but in my belly good. I

  5. This has been such a fun experience, something that made my “retirement life” really interesting.
    I have enjoyed all your adventures in Paris, so sorry we never made a connection while Tricia and I were there, but that’s life. I enjoyed all the comments by Mr. Neil about his wine selections, and please let him know that Jim and I love our Chateau Neuf de Pape, especially the good stuff that we smuggled home in the luggage. I won’t even talk about the Cognac that was almost confiscated.
    That’s for another day. I hope you enjoy your new home in France, one of my most special places in the world.

  6. It is rather amazing, Mardi, that you have cooked every single recipe in this incredible cookbook. It isn’t as if you have a life of leisure nor that you’re just laying around reading weighty books and eating dark chocolate, you’re a busy lady. Congratulations on this accomplishment. It’s been a joy to watch you and cook with you.

  7. Your second version looks so delicious! i was going to say that I thought Dorie would heartily approve of your tweaks, but I can see that she already did. Congrats on finishing every recipe – it’s quite an accomplishment!

  8. You are the model Dorista! Congratulations (and hugs) for cooking every recipe on time with nary a makeup in site. You are a true trooper. I enjoyed sharing this project with you. You inspired me every week (and in between, I love those Petits Chefs!). And I will continue to think of you every time I “minify”. As for the chicken, the resulting sauce was my favorite part. It was thick but was less than an inch high once cooked. I’m curious how much liquid you had, because I thought it was just enough.

  9. Congratulations! I always tell myself that I should pick a cookbook in my collection and cook all recipes. I don’t because I always want to make different recipes from different cookbooks but this one seems like a good, solid one to do that. I have one of her cookbooks and I like it a lot. What is the next challenge for you? Will you cook from another cookbook?

  10. Oh Mardi, I love this post! We were all trying hard to get the last one “right”, well done you! I have to say that while I often try to limit what I read about an upcoming recipe (so that I can try it out myself with no preconceived notions), I did appreciate your comments, since it lead me to concentrate on the browning, and limit the liquid to wine and the juice of the lemon I zested!

    And I totally get the whole “I don’t need a whole chicken!”, but I went ahead with it anyway, and most of the dish sits deconstructed in my freezer waiting for another day. I did think it was tasty, and really a “Dorie” way to finish the book.

    I’ve so much enjoyed following you all of these years – and love all of the other things you’ve brought to the table as well. Cheers!

  11. Congratulations on completing the entire book! I have two to go and am not planning to make them up over the coming weeks so that will probably be my count at the end. I agree with you that the vast majority from this book have been amazing and I have learned so much. I think that we were really lucky to have picked such a great book because I wonder if I would have tired of another book before getting through it.

  12. First off- congratulations on making every single recipe and doing so ON TIME. Wow !!! That is quite and accomplishment over the period of time we have spanned on this project, not to mention the various travels you have done during this time. Now, that chicken. Love that you reevaluated the expectations (we have all learned what these do to our recipes, no ?:) and that you tried it again with a bit of a tweak. That photo looks just fabulous and has inspired me to try the dish again with chicken pieces next time- it was a bit of a bear to brown that whole chicken but I loved trying ! It has been a treat to cook along side you and I especially thank you for introducing us to Food Revolution Day. All the best to you and Mr. Neil 🙂

  13. It’s so wonderfully impressive that you’ve made every single one of the recipes, Mardi! And I was happy to have an opportunity to meet you, too. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I’m glad I took the plunge all those years ago.

  14. Congratulations! I am quite impressed by the people that made every recipe…I have about 15 or more that I didn’t get to. It has been a fun and interesting journey…so glad to make it with you!
    Your chicken, and photos are lovely!

  15. Dear Mardi, very, very impressive indeed – personally I do not know anyone else but you who managed to cook an entire cookbook! Respect, my dear, respect! It has been quite a journey for all of us and nice to get to know each other either through our respective blogs or even in person.
    Looking forward to connecting through the Food Ambassador Program as well!

  16. Congratulations! You are one of the very few to have made every recipe! Your photos are always lovely, Mardi ,and I enjoy reading your posts. I like your honesty and your reports on the petit chefs are fun!

  17. Well it looks delicious. I am glad that the second time around worked out better. I have learned so much from you too, Mardi. I look forward to keeping in touch in TWD.

  18. I’m right there with you, Mardi. I, too, would rather eat a simpler-to-make roast chicken anyday. My expectations were wonky, too. Kudos for going back and trying it again, and also for completing every recipe!! I’m happy enough with my tally, but I definitely didn’t do all of them!

  19. Wow! Over four years? That has been an amazing project and I can imagine Dorie has been with you all the way. Isn’t it funny? I also thought that it was a roasted chicken on that beautiful cover. It does look deliciously tempting! Well done you to keep to such a delicious and disciplined schedule.


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