*This Casserole-Roasted Chicken recipe is adapted from Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck’s wonderful cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2009), 249 & 252.
Nate bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 2009 when we moved to Alabama from Wisconsin, and the first recipe we made was Julia Child’s own Boeuf Bourguignon. Then an almond chocolate cake was made several times. Her scalloped potatoes with cream and cheese are so good we bring them to nearly every potluck we go to. In short, it was the book that really got us interested into more complicated dishes.
Years later in Texas, Nate was pouring over our collection of cook books and announced that we were going to make Casserole-Roasted Chicken together as a date night activity. With wine and bread of course ;). It was so good that we have made this dinner together about once a month ever since.
From the cook book’s description: “This is an all-in-one dish where bacon and vegetables are cooked with the chicken and each item takes on a bit of flavor from its neighbors. No other vegetables are needed to make up a main course, but you may with to serve broiled tomatoes along with it for color.” Our big departure from the original recipe is that we use hickory smoked pork jowl in place of the uncured belly bacon that the recipe directs. While this might get a pan thrown at us from a French chef, but trust me, its addition is divine.
- 1/2lb chunk of hickory smoked pork jowl
- 3lb ready-to-cook roasting chicken, trussed and buttered
- 15-25 peeled white pearl onions
- 1-1 1/2 lbs. small golden yellow potatoes, peeled
- 4 Tb of butter – for the chicken
- 3 Tb of butter – for the potatoes
- 15-20 cherry tomatoes
- A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheese cloth
- A large casserole with lid (enameled Dutch Oven)
- A bulb baster
- Aluminum foil
- Peeling the pearl onions can be a real pain. The trick is to trim both ends of the little onion and drop them all into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Remove and place into an ice bath for another 60 seconds. Then, gently pinch the end, and the skin will come right off.
- Make sure your chicken is completely thawed and at room temperature prior to browning, otherwise the skin will rip off.
Cut the pork jowl into 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 inch chunks. In the casserole (enameled Dutch Oven) and sauté in 1 Tb of melted butter until brown and crispy. Remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the casserole.
Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 Tb of butter. Truss the chicken with kitchen string. Dry the chicken thoroughly and rub the skin with the rest of the butter. Set the casserole with the bacon fat over moderately high heat and lay in the chicken breast down. Brown for 2 to 3 minutes, regulating the heat so the fat is always hot but not burning. Turn the chicken on a side, using two wooden or plastic spoons or a towel. Be sure not to break the skin while doing so. Continue browning and turning the chicken until it is a nice golden color almost all over, especially the breast and legs. Set the chicken on a platter and pour the fat from the casserole.
Preheat oven to 325°F
Drop the onions into boiling, salted water and boil slowly for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and trim them into uniform ovals or rounds. Cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain immediately when the water begins to boil.
Heat 3 Tb of butter in the casserole until it is foaming. Add the potatoes and roll them around over medium heat for 2 minutes to evaporate their moisture; this will prevent them from sticking to the casserole.
Spread the potatoes aside, salt the chicken, and place it breast up in the casserole. Place the pork jowl and onions over the potatoes, and add the herb bouquet. Baste all of the ingredients with the butter in the casserole, lay the aluminum foil over the chicken, and cover the casserole.
Heat the casserole on top of the stove until the contents are sizzling, then place in the middle level of the preheated oven and roast for 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is done. Baste every 20 minutes with butter and juices from the casserole.
When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and set on the stove with the lid removed but leave the aluminum foil on top of the chicken.
Set the oven to broil and place 15-20 cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet in the oven as close to the broiling element as you can. Broil for 5 minutes or until they are roasted and pleasant looking. Add them to the casserole with the chicken, potatoes, onions, and pork jowl. We serve ours along side with No Knead Bread and Wilted Lettuce. Enjoy!Print