The secret is now yours to use!
A roast chicken can seem like an easy recipe to tackle on its face, but for anyone who has successfully roasted a whole chicken to golden perfection, there was probably one thing, or maybe a few, that did not go as planned. So any recipe that makes cooking well-seasoned, tender chicken easier is worth knowing.
“You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken,” says Julia Child. It’s a fair point—a good chicken dinner has even been known to lead to marriage.
Child’s words have stood the test of time, just like her recipes. Home cooks, as well as generations of world-renowned chefs, have Child to thank for countless classics and food lessons. One recipe that does not disappoint is her one-pot roast chicken that uses a secret trick. Don’t worry, Child liked to share her secrets—so the technique comes to us in her famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.”
What Is Julia Child’s Method for a Perfect Roast Chicken?
So, what is Julia Child’s genius trick for a perfect roast chicken? Well it involves browning the chicken in the pan on the stovetop before transferring the whole thing to the oven to finish cooking.
“When a chicken is cooked this way, it is trussed, browned in butter and oil, then set to roast in a covered casserole with herbs and seasonings,” says Child.
When the bird goes in the oven, the “buttery, aromatic steam” allows the chicken to become deliciously tender and flavorful. Yet because the chicken is seared on the outside first, it maintains a crispy texture.
How To Cook Julia Child's One-Pot Chicken Dinner
Season the cavity of a three-pound whole chicken with ¼ teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, and one tablespoon of butter. Add three to four tarragon sprigs to the cavity or sprinkle it with ½ teaspoon of dried tarragon. Feel free to add other fixin’s like celery or garlic cloves. Truss the chicken and dry it thoroughly. The chicken will not brown if it is damp, so do your best to dry every part of the bird. Once dry, rub the skin with another tablespoon of butter.
Next, heat one tablespoon of oil and two tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat.
“When the butter foam has begun to subside, lay in the chicken, breast down,” says Child. “Brown for 2 to 3 minutes, regulating heat so butter is always very hot but not burning. Turn the chicken on another side.”
Continue cooking and turning in this way, being mindful not to break the skin, particularly on the breast and legs, as you rotate the chicken, until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. While browning, ensure the bottom of your pan maintains a nice sheen, adding more oil, if necessary.
Once browned, remove the entire chicken and set aside. Add ½ cup of sliced onions and ¼ cup of sliced carrots (as well as any other vegetables you’d like, such as potatoes and/or celery) to the Dutch oven and continue cooking, until softened but not browned, about five minutes. Season the vegetables with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon dried tarragon (or three to four chopped, fresh tarragon sprigs).
Salt the outside of the chicken and place it back into the Dutch oven on top of the vegetables, breast side up. Baste with the butter-oil mixture in the bottom of the pot, then lay a piece of foil over the chicken, and cover with the lid. Cook in the oven at 325 degrees F, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees F, about one hour and 10 minutes.
This recipe is so variable and fun to play with, so feel free to make it your own: Splash in a little wine before tossing it in the oven, mix up the seasonings, or try adding a mushroom stuffing, which you will find alongside Julia Child’s original recipe in her classic cookbook.
Read the original article on All Recipes.