Roast Chicken and Other Stories

So, I was going to post my second Dude Fude, but I just checked out a book at the library (more on that later) called, brilliantly, Roast Chicken and Other Stories.  Blurbed as, “The Most Useful Cookbook Of All Time,” it’s written by Simon Hopkinson, and I had read about it, then forgotten it and just happened upon it today.  Yea!  I love it when that happens. 

I just wanted you to know how he does his Roast Chicken and what he says about the importance of a good bird.

There is chicken, and there is chicken.  The French chicken, from Bresse, is the finest in the world.  It is nurtured and cosseted like no other living creature (save, perhaps, the Japanese Kobe cattle, which are bred better and given a daily massage).  The poulet de Bresse is a “controlled” breed in France and carries its own special criteria…as wine does…It has a superb flavor, due to its diet and upbringing…”

You can start to understand why French food is so damn good.  So Simon puts a little more effort into his RC than you might have, but if you’re going to try something a little bit, this is the one to make.

1/2 cup butter, room temp.

4 lb. chicken

salt and pepper

1 lemon

thyme or tarragon, or a mixture

1 garlic clove, peeler and crushed.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Smear butter with your hands all over the bird.

Put the chicken in a roasting pan that will accommodate it with room to spare.

Season liberally, with the herbs and garlic inside the cavity, together with the squeezed-out lemon halves.

Roast the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  

Baste (scoop up juices and pour over the chicken), then turn the oven down to 375 degrees and roast a further 30-45 minutes with occasional basting.

Turn off oven, leaving door ajar, and leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.  

You can use the juice in the pan as “gravy.”  If you want to add extra flavor, you can scoop the garlic and herbs out of the chicken cavity, stir them into the gravy, and heat through, then strain before serving.

This is a fabulous cookbook, even though I don’t plan to cook from the Brains chapter, I can’t wait to get to Custard.

Next up:  Mashed potatoes (and why I love and revere libraries).


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