French Chicken in a Pot shares some similarities with braised chicken—both are cooked in covered pots in low-temperature ovens to yield tender, flavorful meat. Unlike braising, however, where lots of liquid is added to the pot, this chicken is placed in a dry pot and left to cook in nothing more than the essence of its own juices. The amount of incredibly yummy natural jus that comes out while cooking is amazing considering it isn’t braised in liquid.
The amount of jus will vary depending on the size of the chicken; season it with about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice for every 1/4 cup. FYI, the cooking times in the recipe are for a 4 1/2- to 5-pound bird. A 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours.
With only a handful of veggies, herbs and spices, this is one of the simplest dinners you can prepare. Next time I will scatter the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken AFTER I flip the bird so that they don’t scorch. The original recipe has you add them when you first put the chicken breast side down (as seen in my photo below), but I indicated otherwise in the directions.
French Chicken in a Pot
- 1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back (see note)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
- ¼ 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
- ½ – 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
- 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. 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; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken. Cook until 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.
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated