The Accidental Locavore thinks that one of the great pleasures of being in France is the availability of great roasted chickens at almost every butcher. Poulet roti has been elevated to an art form (and is one of the main reasons we could never buy a grill without a rotisserie). So, when I saw this recipe in David’s My Paris Kitchen, I knew I had to give it a try. If you’ve never butterflied a chicken, it’s really easy, but if you’re fearful just ask the butcher to do it for you. The chicken needs to marinate so give yourself time. This could feed up to 4, depending on how greedy you are.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 ½ teaspoons harissa or Sriracha (more or less to taste)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- I chicken (about 3 pounds), butterflied*
Put the garlic and salt in a large Ziploc bag (big enough to hold the chicken) and crush it with the heel of your hand to make a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chicken, and mix well. Add the chicken, massaging it well with the marinade (be sure to get it under the skin as well). Refrigerate it for 1-2 days, flipping the bag over to distribute the marinade.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 400°. Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin side down on the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil on top. Weigh it down with a brick, weight, or a large pot filled with water. Cook the chicken until the skin is a deep, golden brown about 10-15 minutes (check it often). Once it’s browned, carefully turn it over and put the foil and weight back on it. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
Remove the weight and foil and put the chicken in the oven to finish cooking – about 25 minutes. Chicken is cooked when an instant-read thermometer reads 165° in the thickest part of the thigh. Serve and enjoy!
*To butterfly a chicken: With a pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken. Snap the rib bones, so the chicken lies flat. I usually do this by grabbing it on either side of the ribs and opening it like a book. You can also do it by putting the chicken on a cutting board, skin side up and pushing down on it to flatten it.
My verdict: Oh dummy me! I couldn’t get the chicken to brown and now I know why. I put it in the pan, weighted it, and put the whole thing in the oven. Duh, it’s supposed to stay on the stove top until you remove the weights. While my skin was never brown and crispy enough, it had great flavor from the marinade! Before I realized my mistake, I was thinking that next time (because there certainly will be a next time), I would pat the chicken dry after pulling it out of the marinade and/or keep it whole and put it on the rotisserie on the grill. Either way, in keeping with French tradition, a few chunks of potato (par-boiled until just shy of cooked) tossed in with the chicken before it goes in the oven, or underneath on the rotisserie would be a great addition.