And so yes. Today I went to battle with the bird.
The results? Grace: 1. Bird: Defeated.
I didn’t follow any particular recipe. All I knew was that the French way of flavouring a chicken was simple and flavourful. So out of all the recipes I perused, I ended up with a simple list of basic ingredients – lemon, butter, salt, pepper and garlic. I used rosemary and tarragon (because that’s what I have and I didn’t have thyme) for extra flavouring, and I added a carrot and onions, to tick off my vegetable portion.
The one method that I did follow was Julia Child’s approach to roasting a chicken, explained so informatively here. I roasted the prepared chicken at 425F for the first 15min and then (45 min+[7minx#lbs])another 47min at 350 after that, checked it for clear juices and added an extra 8min since the juices weren’t running clear at a leg. In between, I basted it every 10 min by taking it out of the oven and brushing it with juices that ran from the chicken to keep it moist. I took the chicken out of the oven, closed the oven door quickly, basted the chicken, then returned it to the oven (tip from The Kitchn). This kept the heat somewhat intact, whilst the bird got a little TLC.
Even though I froze the chicken twice, it still came out tender and juicy. This is what I did, I defrosted it overnight in the fridge, put it in the sink for a hot bath, then patted it dry, then checked to see if a packet of gizzards hid inside the bird before proceeding. I rubbed the bird inside and out with salt and pepper, then put minced garlic inside and out (including under the skin), rubbed it down with tarragon and rosemary, again inside and out, then stuffed thin slices of lemon under the skin against the breast. I cut up two small onions and a carrot to create a ‘bed’ for the chicken to rest on. One wedge of lemon and a small portion of onion was stuffed inside the chicken. I then let it sit at room temperature to marinade for just over an hour so the chill is removed from the chicken and the salt has time to penetrate and tenderize the meat. Served with rice, this made a delicious, filling, cheap meal. I can’t wait to make soup from the bones! 😀