french fridays with dorie: m. jacques armagnac chicken

I love roasted chicken! I adore Dorie’s Lazy Person’s Chicken that we made for French Fridays with Dorie in November 2010, so I was game for another of Dorie’s versions for roasted chicken.

Once again, the recipe started with a large Dutch oven. My Le Creuset definitely gets a workout with Dorie’s recipes. It was a gift from my sister Jane, so it’s like she’s cooking along with me. Chopped onions, sliced carrots, and quartered potatoes are lightly warmed in olive oil, then, the lightly seasoned chicken is nestled in vegetables with some pitted prunes, herbs (still from my backdoor garden – in January – in New England – what’s up with that?), and brandy (cheap stuff, not actually Armagnac). Cover the pot and bake at high heat for an hour. That’s it!

I had some trouble figuring out how to truss the chicken. Did you? I didn’t plan ahead, and so when it was time to put the chicken in the pot, I quickly looked in a few books, but didn’t find any good pictures or descriptions. I ended up “winging” it, but I don’t know whether I should have bothered.

It would have helped if had read the recipe a little more carefully. I added ALL the ingredients before baking, including the cup of water that supposed to be added after the chicken is roasted. While my chicken was cooked through and perfectly moist, the skin didn’t browned. It was more steamed than roasted. I still consider it a success, but I missed the crispy skin.

The vegetables were a nice accompaniment. The onions melted into a sauce. The potatoes had great flavor from cooking in the chicken’s juices. If I hadn’t had the steaming issue I mentioned, I wonder whether the potatoes might have been crispier like my chicken skin was supposed to be. And, I liked the sweetness that the prunes added to the mix. I also braised some sliced Swiss chard to round out the plate.

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but I found it on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s website if you want to try this at home. It’s still worth getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. Maybe you’ll even want to cook along with us on Fridays.

Next week’s selection is French version of pound cake: Quatre-Quarts


Posted on 13 January 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I found myself comparing this one to the Lazy Chicken as well, the recipes were very similar. I did follow the directions as written but I too ended up with un-browned chicken. I was actually highly confused as to how the chicken was supposed to brown with the top on, in fact I am still confused. But it looks like a few cooks pulled it off. No idea how that works, but my chicken was delicious so I’ll try not to dwell too much on the aesthetics.

  2. I just tied the legs and didn’t bother with the trussing. It came out wonderful! Yours looks absolutely delicious! This dish reminded me of the Lazy Chicken too! Both were equally wonderful! So delicious!

  3. I didn’t add the water but my chicken didn’t brown as much either. I got a much better browning from Dorie’s les paresseux recipe. Great post!

  4. the prunes definitely adds character to the sauce. I am happy I added prunes to mine too :) Your dish looks delicious!

  5. Good idea to add the prunes and a green veggie to round out the plate.
    We like this chicken recipe but want to try the Lazy chicken recipe as well.
    I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe, we did too!

  6. Most of us agree that the chicken did not brown without removing the lid of the Dutch oven or broiling afterwards. I still have not learned how to truss a chicken. Maybe that can be one of my kitchen to-do’s for 2012!

  7. We liked this, too. Who hasn’t jumped ahead the directions on a recipe? LOL! At least it wasn’t a critical mistake. We loved this & I made soup with the leftovers.

  8. We loved this recipe. I’ll be making it again; probably sooner rather than later since it seems like the perfect cold weather meal!

  9. I’m a jumper, and have to remind myself constantly to slow down and read. Glad someone else does that too! Seems like I’m going to have to try the lazy chicken recipe since everyone likes that so much! The dish looks delicious and how fun to share with your sister via the dutch oven.

  10. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s chicken browned without help of a few minutes under the broiler. Who needs crisp skin, when there’s such juicy meat to be had! I make the “dump everything in the pot” mistake all the time. Glad it didn’t ruin things!

  11. A Le Cresuet – very envious! Your chicken turned out well.

  12. The addition of chard really livens up your plate! I didn’t miss having a green vegetable while I was eating the dinner, but it sure makes the meal more photogenic.

  13. It’s not just yours. The pale colour is a common issue for many of us this week. I wonder if it is related to the size of the pot used? It’s really sweet how you mentioned your pot is a gift from your sister and it was like she cooked with you every time it’s used.

  14. I didn’t actually truss mine, but have years of experience doing so from working in a kitchen as a kid. I too missed the crispy skin, but the flavor did make up for it.

  15. Hi, Betsy! I don’t thinking adding the cup of water before putting in the oven made a difference because it seems that the only ones who got crispy skin were the ones who put the chicken under the broiler. No matter to me because we both enjoyed this recipe so much. The prunes with the brandy were a perfect combination. Good idea to pair the dish with swiss chard for a bit of green. I think I will do that next time. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  16. Betsy, I didn’t add the water and my chicken’s skin was not crispy! it was kind of steamed which doesn’t sound good but I removed the skin when I carved. I wish I had added the prunes!

  17. Interesting to know what happened when you added the cup of water – I can very close to doing that myself and kept re-reading the recipe going “where does the water go” ? Also great that you added the prunes. My mother in law made a roast pork with them years ago and it was a neat recipe – we just never think of cooking with those little guys. I was also amazed at how all those onions melted away-didn’t tell my guys quite how many I had added :) PS- thx for the info on the JK Adams and link – Nana and I really enjoyed it !!

  18. I’m not sure the water added early really did anything to your chances of crispy skin. I followed the directions and got the same result, delightfully moist, but very non-crispy/non-golden skin. Still delicious tho! :)

  19. I’m glad you enjoyed, too!! I skipped the trussing…and mine was fine. Yeah, it looks like nobody got browned or crispy skin…but that did prevent me from snacking on it :) Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

  20. I think everyone got a bit “steamed” and wanted a more “done” look. I like my chicken more browned…makes it more appetizing, but this is really a great meal…tasty and juicy chicken dish that we’ll make again soon.

  21. I didn’t even know we were supposed to truss the chicken. So much for my ability to read recipes! I have no clue how, though, so maybe it’s better I didn’t try….I’m so jealous you still have fresh herbs. We tried to bring ours inside but they all died.

  22. I’ll have to go back & do this recipe … I think my family would love it!

  23. I ended up watching a you-tube video on how to truss. Still didn’t get it right, but I am with everyone, I don’t think it really mattered, it definitely did not affect the taste!

  24. I’m pretty certain, regardless of adding the water ahead of time, that most of us didn’t accomplish crispy skin without thinking to remove the lid in the last few minutes of baking… :) Your chicken looks delicious!

  25. I’m sure it tasted delicious even without the crispy skin. I loved how juicy the chicken was.

  26. I finally got ’round to posting about this one and it’s a favourite – it’s hard to say whether I prefer it to Chicken for les Paresseux, but it’s one that gets asked for again. I took the lid off for the last little bit, or I don’t think mine would have browned much, either.

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