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Weekend Recipe: French Chicken in a Pot

Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

I reckon you're likely to rate this America's Test Kitchen recipe depending on how you prefer chicken skin. This method is essentially braising the bird, a sure winner when it comes to juicy, flavorful meat.

If you fancy a chicken roast with a crisper skin, try this recipe.

French Chicken in a Pot
Serves 4

1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
1 small stalk celery, chopped medium (about 1/4 cup)
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

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Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary (if using) around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.

Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about 3/4 cup juices). Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan. Stir lemon juice into jus to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at table.

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