Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme

Casserole-roasted Chicken with Bacon, Onion, and Potatoes

I admit I did not follow this recipe EXACTLY, as I have the other ones. I mean, it's chicken, onions and potatoes, how can you mess that up? So I modified a few things.....namely, I didn't do all of the pre-cooking on the potatoes and onions. See, I was planning to use a crockpot (*gasp*) because (WARNING: SHAMELESS CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT #1) I don't have a casserole dish big enough to hold a whole chicken, let alone the accouterments. So I knew from experience that none of the veggies needed to be pre-cooked for use in a crockpot. However, (WARNING: SHAMELESS CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT #2) my crockpot was too small to hold everything and I ended up putting it all in a 13 x 9 pan and pretending it is a casserole dish.

So when it comes to the recipe, I'll give you Julia's way and my way and you can decide what you would like to do.

Of course this recipe begins with a whole chicken. I often buy them frozen at Aldi. Just clean out all of the "guts" and rinse it off before starting. I'm sure Julia makes something delicious with the neck and organs of the chicken but I just can't. I get rid of them. I waste perfectly good food. Well, it isn't a complete waste. My dog enjoys them very much.

In the meantime Julia says to boil 1/2 a pound of bacon for 10 minutes and then pat it dry and saute it in 2 T. butter until lightly browned.

Julia Child fries her bacon in BUTTER!

I just fried my bacon the old fashioned way. I can't even fathom boiling bacon in water. Gross!
So then you are supposed to truss and butter the whole chicken and brown it in the bacon grease.

Turning and browning a whole chicken (untrussed, another direction I ignored) is not easy. Julia recommends using 2 wooden spoons and a towel. I tried the 5 fingers and a pie server method and, surprisingly, had a little trouble. But eventually I got it all brown and yummy looking.

Next Julia says it is time to boil the potatoes in salty water for 5 minutes. The recipe calls for fingerling potatoes "trimmed to perfect ovals" and pearl onions. Well I have a garden full of potatoes so we will be eating very imperfect triangle-ish potatoes and random hunks of onions with our poulet.

I did not boil the potatoes. Once again I thought that they would get plenty soft enough cooking in the chicken juices for over an hour. I did follow Julia's next step and I learned a neat potato trick. If you cook the potatoes in hot butter (or bacon grease) briefly (2 mins) before putting them in the casserole this will evaporate their moisture and keep them from sticking to the dish.
Now it's time to put it all together. Of course, first of all we will need more butter. Of course. Melt a couple of tablespoons in the bottom of the casserole dish and then put in the potatoes. Push them to the edges and set the chicken in the middle, breast up. Place the bacon and onions over the potatoes and add the herb bouquet.

I skipped the herb bouquet because I didn't have any of the herbs on hand. If you want to do it Julia's way you can make a little sachet of parsley, bay leaf and thyme and throw it in. Then cover the chicken in aluminum foil and put the lid on the casserole. This is what mine looked like before I baked it.
Your poulet should bake at 325 for one hour and 10 or 20 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times with the juices from the pan. I wasn't able to baste anything because there wasn't even enough room in my pan for a spoon. It seemed to maintain it's moisture anyway. Here is the final product.
This is the only savory Julia Child recipe I've made and it got rave reviews. Brian loved it. The flavor was excellent and it was really easy to make. I will definitely make it again.

To find more great recipes check out Tuesdays at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. And by the way, Cole at TATT is giving away some great kitchen gadgets this week. Link up and get entered in the drawing....and help fight breast cancer too.


heartnsoulcooking said...

GREAT!!! recipe. I remember watching Julia Child on TV.

I have become a follower of your blog. Come by and visit my blog and maybe do the same.

THANKS!!! Geri

Red said...

My mother really liked Julia and passed that on to me. She used to have her cookbook, but who knows where that went so, thanks for sharing this!

marti @ forkingit.blogspot.com

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Good for you. It looks great! I LOVE that you said "forget you Julia! I'm doing it my way!" (Just kidding!) Anyway, you did just what I would and wouldn't have done!!

Cole said...

You did an awesome job! You're right - I'd never boil bacon either. Ick!

Thanks for sharing with TATT!