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.
This 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!)
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.