French Fridays: Chicken Lady Chicken from My Paris Kitchen

I’m always interested in a good roast chicken recipe. Over the past few years, I’ve tried a number of different versions – Dorie Greenspan’s “Hurry up and Wait” Roast Chicken, M Jacques Armagnac Chicken, Olive Oil Cornish Hens,  Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux, and of course, there’s the famous Mr Neil’s Roast Chicken which I updated recently in my recipe for Poulet Rôti. I knew David Lebovitz shares my love for the classic French “fast food” of rotisserie chicken as I’ve seen him posting about them often on his site and social media, so discovering the recipe for “Chicken Lady Chicken” in My Paris Kitchen wasn’t a surprise.

Poulet roti at Paris markets on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis version that’s on the menu for this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe from My Paris Kitchen calls for spatchcocking the chicken (where you remove the backbone and flatten the chicken so it cooks much faster – a very useful technique that we are familiar with in this house – Mr Neil always ends up doing the honours!) and marinading it in a wonderful combination of garlic, lemon juice, wine, soy, harissa or hot sauce, mustard and honey. The marinade alone makes this recipe worthwhile and I’ll definitely be using it again – most likely on chicken drumsticks.

I did have a few problems with this recipe – first of all, it calls for spooning some of the marinade underneath the skin of the chicken. This is a very thin marinade so it’s hard to spoon it and have it stay there. A pity…. Note that you’ll need a very large resealable plastic bag (where does David find those in France, I wonder?) for this as a chicken when it’s flattened will take up a lot of room!  The marinading and flipping is no problem – you just need to remember to do it – but I had some problems with the actual cooking. I’ve never started a roast chicken on the stovetop but that’s what this recipe calls for – browning the skin in a large cast-iron pan (as you’ve weighted the chicken down – I used a heavy cast iron pot, David uses a 2kg weight), then transferring it to the oven to cook at a high temperature for 25ish minutes (note that for accurate cooking time, you’ll need a digital thermometer. I like this type that you can leave inside the food with the oven door closed and still keep an eye on the temperature). 

All this sounds fairly easy but my cast iron skillet (which would have been ideal for this recipe) is not large enough for this type of chicken so I used my largest skillet lightly oiled (the recipe does not call for this, though I think that it’s necessary because of all the stickiness from the marinade).  I heated the pan at a medium-high heat but even then, most of the chicken skin stuck, though I was so careful as I placed the chicken in the pan to move it around a little, I guess the time underneath the weight was too much. Hence, most of my chicken was not very photogenic 🙁 No matter. I served it with pan-fried potatoes and it made for an excellent Sunday night meal. My reality is not always perfectly styled plates of food (as I am sure it isn’t for the majority of you!)

David Lebovitz chicken lady chicken from My Paris Kitchen on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe taste, on the other hand? So very very good. I’ll be making this again, just cooking it the regular way in the oven, no brick or weight required. I’ll also keep this marinade recipe on hand.

Get the recipe for Chicken Lady Chicken here or on p 173 of My Paris Kitchen.


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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “My Paris Kitchen” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.


29 thoughts on “French Fridays: Chicken Lady Chicken from My Paris Kitchen”

  1. Most of the skin from the breast meat come off and stuck big time on my grill pan (I remember cos I had to gently wash them off the pan!). The chicken was tender and moist, the raw slaw salad was good!

  2. Even without the skin it has a great color. I loved the marinade too and I think that is what made
    this so tender and juicy. I will certainly be doing this recipe again.

  3. My favorite way to cook chickens, though infrequently, is this twice-cook method. Don’t usually have any sticking issue. I’d have to conclude that the weight is what’s causing it. I was careful not to apply too much weight, therefore averting the issue, except that the chicken was not as evenly cooked. I love your beautiful plate and the fries and chicken on it.

  4. A little of my skins stuck, but I was able to gently reassemble where it had. I don’the have a grill hut I do have a two burner cast iron stove top grill, so I used that. I had a small weight… not too heavy… or I think I would have had the same issue as you. As long as it tasted good, right?

  5. Mardi, I thought your question as to why this recipe was my least favorite of David’s (although I didn’t say that in my Post), was a good one. This is my answer. Although I enjoyed eating the result, I didn’t enjoy “getting there.” I usually have fun making and trying new recipes, Dorie’s, David’s, Jody Williams’, Ina’s my blogging colleagues, my friend’s and the Genius ones, but this was unwieldy and not “a good time” in so many ways. After all, that’s why I cook. Since I don’t have to prepare meals for anyone everyday, it’s just Me that sits down at my table mostly, liking the process is important. Most, nearly all, of my friends who are single, 50-somethings and going forward in age (yuck), do not turn on the oven or fire up the grill. You suggested roasted chicken recipes in your write up (many of which I’ve made also) that I think are far easier and fun-to-do than David’s and just as tasty. So, that’s my answer. Now, I’ll click on Mr. Neil’s to see how he does it!

  6. Yep I had the exact same problem–had to go get one of the mongo (that’s a technical term) plastic bags for the marinade, had to use my largest pan due to a 5-lb chicken, and despite oiling the pan had all the skin stick. But! It was also quite tasty. That marinade is a keeper for sure!

    • I found the plastic bag issue especially interesting since this is one hot commodity in France – Ziploc are very expensive and it’s rare to find the giant ones! But yes, love the marinade!

  7. I know what you mean about a dish not measuring up to the photos in the book – mine wasn’t particularly pretty, but it was so delicious! I think you managed to make yours look great in your photo, by the way. As for plastic bags, my brother turned our family on to the rolls of large bags that chefs use – we just clip them with bag clips, which is actually a little less fussy than resealable ones. I try not to use plastic like that too often, but they do come in handy.

    • Thanks so much – and interesting re those plastic bags. My point was more that you cannot really get those in France so it was interesting that this was the way he chose to marinade… I’m actually marinading chicken legs in this (in a glass dish) right now 🙂

  8. My chicken fit in a regular one-gallon ziplock bag, but my chicken was smaller, 3.5#. I enjoyed the marinade too, but not the end result of my roasted chicken. I think I’ll copy you and try the marinade on chicken parts that are just roasted in the oven, no searing and losing the skin.

  9. I have made this a number of times, and have ruined a few chickens along the way. There’s something in the marinade which causes this to happen, and you will always end up with a pan coated with a thick layer of tar in which the skin is embedded. Even after two minutes. I’m quite certain David Lebovitz never actually tested this recipe because his cooking method has ended up such a spectacular failure every time. I’ve adjusted the temperature of the pan to medium, put the chicken in cold, put it in at room temperature, attempted to flip it only after a few minutes — all to no avail. I only persisted because the marinade itself seemed to have so much potential. The best way to cook this chicken is to heat the pan in the oven while it is preheating, put in the chicken skin-side up, then broil it until the skin browns nicely — not too close to the flame, and watch it carefully. Then finish it in the oven. This way you never lose the skin, which really is the best part.


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