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French-Style Chicken in a Pot


Serves 4

We developed this recipe to work with a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. If you choose not to serve the skin with the chicken, simply remove it before carving. The amount of jus will vary depending on the size of the chicken; for every 1/4 cup jus, season it with about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice.

1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded

Salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)

1 small celery rib, chopped medium (about 1/4 cup)

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Tuck the wings behind the back.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, breast-side down; scatter the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary (if using) around the chicken. Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, flip the chicken breast-side up and cook until the chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat; place a large sheet of foil over the pot and cover tightly with the lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 11/2 hours.

4. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the chicken juices from the pot through a fine-mesh strainer into a fat separator, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids (you should have about 3/4 cup juices). Allow the liquid to settle for about 5 minutes, then pour into a small saucepan and set over low heat.

5. Carve the chicken, adding any accumulated juices to the saucepan. Stir the lemon juice into the jus to taste. Serve the chicken, passing the jus separately at the table.

From The Best Chicken Recipes. Copyright © 2008 by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated.

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