If I can't make my nephew Bohan eat every bite on his plate, then I'm not doing my job. Let's face it, the toughest customers at every family get together are the ones below the age of five. Happily my most discriminating client ate everything on his plate and then helped mom out too – much to the surprise of both Grandmas who aren't always as successful. Woo-ooo!
This menu is straight out of the Paris bistros and really is a simple crowd pleaser: roast chicken with jus, roasted parsley potatoes with a little garlic, and glazed carrots. It's hard to mess up roast chicken, but I have some tips on how to insure crispy brown skin, juicy flesh, and create delicious jus from scratch. Click on "continue reading French Bistro Style..." at the bottom of the page for the recipe.
Okay, Nina is not quite old enough to enjoy roast chicken yet, but she sure is a lively pleasure to have at the dinner table with all her baby talk, cooing, and bubble blowing. Quite the attention stealer actually (sigh!) she did grab for my plate a few times, so maybe she thought it was worth a closer look?
It was good to be home, even if time went by too fast. Wouldn't want my nephew's and niece's not to know who I am! That would be terrible. If nothing else hopefully they'll remember that I'm the one who can cook good kids meals.
Roasted Chicken With Jus & Roasted Garlic Parsley Potatoes
Ingredients for Chicken
1 free range organic chicken. I like smaller birds because they are juicier normally. The cooking time is the same for larger ones, so choose one that fits your family. For a dinner of six adults I buy two smaller chickens. Pay for quality, it's worth it in taste.
4 chicken wings for jus
1 yellow onion
3 whole garlic cloves peeled
1 carrot peeled
1 celery stalk peeled
1 boquet garni: 1 bay leaf, sprig of thyme dried or fresh, parsley stems if available tied with kitchen string to keep together in jus
1 can organic chicken stalk or 8 oz water for jus
Splash of white wine (optional)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt & Pepper
Ingredients for Roasted Potatoes
12 Yukon gold potatoes (about 3 per person)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic minced
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
3 Tablespoons Butter
Salt & Pepper
Instructions for Roast Chicken with Jus
Preheat oven to 400˚F, 200˚C
1. Clean chicken and pat dry, make sure innards are removed. Season cavity with salt and pepper and skin too. Truss bird with cooking string. Smear 1-2 Tablespoon of butter over chicken skin (this can be done roughly, it will melt)
2. Cut fat off extra wings and dislocate at joint with knife to make smaller pieces. (don't worry if this is a problem just leave them whole)
3. Roughly chop carrot, celery, and onion and set aside (mirepoix)
4. Heat a large skillet or roasting pan that is oven safe on stove top at medium high heat. Add vegetable oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter. When it is hot add whole chicken on leg side to brown until just golden (3 min). Add wings around it.
5. Turn chicken onto the other leg and brown (3 min) and turn chicken wings over.
6. With chicken still on the same leg side place in oven and cook for twelve minutes. Turn back onto other leg-side and cook for 12 more minutes. Finally turn chicken onto back with breast facing up and cook for 25 minutes. Add mirepoix around chicken for last rotation.
7. Check for doneness by making a slight incision in skin between breast and leg. If juices run clear the chicken is done.
8. Place chicken on a rack to rest (or carving board) and tent with foil until ready to serve
9. For jus: place skillet with wings and mirepoix back onto stove and turn on medium high heat. Let veggies and meat carmelize if they have not already done so in the oven. There should be lots of gooey brown caremel on the bottom of the pan. Be careful – there is a big difference between burnt and caramel. Taste some of the veggies if you're not sure.
10. Carefully drain chicken fat from veggies (don't scrape up the brown carmel – that's for the jus!) with a large strainer. Add ingredients back to pan and deglaze with a splash white wine (or water). Once wine cooks down add chicken broth (or water) and scrape pan to get up all the yummy brown bits.
11. Strain jus again before serving and carve chicken!
Instructions for Roasted Garlic Parsley Potatoes
1. Scrub the skin of potatoes lightly and add to a large pot of cold water – enough to cover by at least one inch.
2. Set pot onto boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced by the tines of a fork. Around 15 minutes after water boils.
3. Once cooked, drain water and add cold water to stop cooking of potatoes and cool them enough to handle without burning hands. Cut into rough 1 1/2 inch cubes.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil on medium high heat and add butter. Once skillet is hot add potatoes.
5. Let brown tossing or stirring occasionally. If they don't seem to be browning then add more butter.
6. When potatoes are almost all golden brown add minced garlic.
7. Season with salt and pepper and add parsley when finished.