poulet en cocotte bonne femme (casserole-roasted chicken with bacon, onions, and potatoes)

poulet en cocotte bonne femme

As part of my food budget plan, the hubs and I eat chicken every week since it’s the cheapest meat on the market. As such, there is an incentive for me to always be on the lookout for new chicken recipes and/or cooking methods.

This is my second attempt at this dish. The original recipe is taken from Julia Child’s eponymous cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” but I’ve made some tweaks. The first time I made this dish, I used a cheap chicken – basically, the cheapest chicken at the grocery store. It turned out pretty terrible because 1) the chicken had a tonne of fat (even though I trimmed off a considerable amount of visible fat) 2) the chicken lacked flavor. Since then, the hubs and I have been a lot more picky about what kind of chickens we buy and their source. In fact, we try to buy only organic, free-range chickens, whenever possible. Basically, we don’t buy the cheapest chicken…(sorry, I don’t want to name the brand of chickens we buy, but if you live in California, there is basically that ONE brand that is the cheapest and most widely available). Neither do we buy the most expensive one either. Bottom line, we try and buy chicken that aren’t abnormally fat.

This method of cooking chickens isn’t really my favorite as I still feel that roasting chickens produces a much richer and tastier meat. Also, the fat drips off, whereas in this case, the fat still sits in the pot while the chicken cooks. Regardless, this is a decent recipe to try and some people adore this “one-pot” dish.

To note, though the original recipe calls for the potatoes to be cooked in the pot, I prefer to cook them separately because I don’t want the potatoes to be soggy and prefer a roasted, crisp potato. You can however chose to cook the potatoes in the pot with the chicken.

Poulet En Cocotte Bonne Femme (Casserole-Roasted Chicken with Bacon, Onions, and Potatoes)

(taken and adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck)

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken about 3-3.5 pounds, cleaned and patted dry (You want to make sure the chicken can fit into your dutch oven)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, cut into medium size chunks (golds are a good choice) (you can also roast the potatoes separately, if so you can increase the amount of carrots and celery)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into medium-size chunks
  • 1 stalk of celery, cut into medium-size chunks
  • 4 sprigs rosemary or thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped into large chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Heat dutch oven and fry bacon to render fat. Remove bacon and set aside.
  3. Season the chicken inside and out with salt.
  4. On medium-high heat, brown the chicken on both sides, about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken, season it with pepper inside and out and stuff the cavity with 4 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of rosemary and set aside.
  6. Add the rest of the rosemary, onion, 4 cloves of garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes (if using) to the pot and fry for about 3-4 minutes. Season with some salt, about 1.5 teaspoons. Remove half of the vegetable mixture.
  7. Place the chicken into the pot and pour the rest of the vegetable mixture back into the pot. Arrange the vegetables around the chicken.
  8. Cover the dutch oven and transfer into the oven. Bake for about 60 minutes. I usually bake it for 40 minutes first and then check if the chicken is done.
  9. Once chicken is done (internal temperature should read at least 165°F), remove from oven and let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.
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