Friday, January 13, 2012

m. jacques armagnac chicken - French Fridays w/ Dorie

Another recipe where I can understand why they didn't put a picture in the book, however after you taste it you won't wonder why it's in there to begin with. I had gotten a chicken from my sister, who raises them, several months ago and didn't have a chance to roast it yet. I took it out of the freezer a few days before I was going to cook this, to give it time to thaw, and put it in out downstairs refrigerator. I always thought the refrigerator didn't feel cold enough, and was a bit nervous that I'd be ruining this, but apparently it's fine. After two full days the chicken was still frozen on the inside. So the rest of this story is not a good representation of the recipe, since I didn't want to wait to cook this. It was actually Sunday, so I did have quite a long time before the "deadline", but that wasn't the point. The point was I wanted to make the chicken on Sunday. So I did.

I cooked onions, carrots, and parsnip in a little oil, just until they were heated through a bit. I really didn't believe I would be able to fit a chicken in the pot too, but managed. Originally I was going to use my Le Creuset pot and then realized the handle wouldn't heat to 450 and I didn't feel like taking it off for this project so switched to my stainless one. I didn't think there would be a need for the iron because nothing would be caramelizing.
The carrots and parsnip are from my winter CSA. I have been saving these for special dishes and thought a Dorie one would be worthy. After these cooked a bit, I got the chicken and did not do any washing of the bird. None was needed, especially since half of it was frozen anyway. I know, I could have done a water bath and had this bird thawed in an hour or so, but I didn't want to. I actually thought that we would eat it on Monday and I'd just cook it longer. I was simply being lazy. After I put the chicken in I got out the only brandy in the house that I would use for this. My mother has always put apricot brandy on her roast turkeys and baked stuffed chicken breasts (with the skin on so they'd get nice and crispy - oh these were sooo goood!) and I always have a bottle around for similar situations, this being one of them. I didn't think the raspberry brandy would fit this dish. I also realized that baking this at 450 wouldn't be too cook for a 1/2 frozen chicken so I lowered it to 400. After 5 hours (just kidding, it was about two) I took out the chicken and it looked fine. There was a good amount of juice and fat, so I was actually happy to be waiting until the next day so I could take off most of the fat. The smell was incredible. I think this would be on my list of favorite food smells and it's all about the brandy. I will try it with  Armagnac because I love prunes with roast chicken. My mom used to make Chicken Marbella as well! After the chicken cooled I put it in the refrigerator and realized with all the vegetables it would be difficult to get the fat off. To make it easier, I rested the pot half-way on a lid so it would tilt the juice to one side. I am a genius (at the time sure I felt like it (- : 

The next evening I had by husband take out the chicken and put it in a 350 oven when he got home. I then turned it up to 400, took the lid off and got it heated up more, removed the chicken and cooked down the juice on the stove a bit. There was so much juice I didn't add the water. I served it with leftover mashed potatoes, thanks to my mother-in-law, and that was pretty much it! It tasted wonderful and I'm sure it was due to the quality of the ingredients over the cooking method. 

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