Is it roast or is it chicken? I say it’s both. And since the recipe very clearly and plainly said, “Roast Chicken”, I am right if not redundant.
Last night I made Poulet Roti. Now if I spoke French, or if you spoke French we’d all know what I just said. Since I don’t speak a lick of French and in fact I’m not even a smidgen French, it’s a good thing Mastering the Art of French Cooking has English subtitles. What I made was Roast Chicken. I’m putting myself out a limb here but I’m betting the word “poulet” is chicken. It just looks like poultry.
Julia starts this recipe with these words, “You can always judge the quality of a cook or restaurant by roast chicken. While it does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird, it does entail such a greed for perfection that one is under compulsion to hover over the bird, listen to it, above all see that it is continually basted, and that it is done just to the proper turn.” I assure you I did not hover over my bird. I didn’t even baste it.
Why, you ask? Because I’ve never basted anything in my life and in fact I don’t even own a poultry baster. I have looked at them as recently as this afternoon, but have as yet to make the leap.
I would love to have some witty story to share about how I found my chicken, but really it isn’t witty. I just went to the grocery store and voila! They had whole chickens. I plopped one in my cart, after looking them all over, comparing size and price, and then deciding on the first one I picked up. Only by that time the pile was in such a jumble I had to really search all over again for the bird. Only to find it on the very bottom. I then just plopped it in the buggy and away we went in search of butter, then on to the check-out.
I used to be quite afraid of cooking a chicken. Growing up, I don’t remember ever having roast chicken. Oven fried chicken, yes, but roast chicken, nope. We had fried chicken often enough I thought the song, “Chicken every Sunday, Momma, every things all right” was written about my family. I was especially afraid of cutting up a whole chicken. I knew enough to know it is less expensive to buy a whole chicken and cut it up on your own, then to buy one all ready cut up. (I think I lost some people back at buying a whole chicken, if it doesn’t come in a zip lock bag, have funky shapes, and go in the microwave they aren’t sure it’s food.) I still have yet to cup up a whole chicken, and yes I’m still afraid to but maybe I’ll be brave some day.
Since I’ve been afraid to cut up a whole chicken and yet I keep buying them, I’ve had to find a way to cook them whole. I first tried roasting a whole chicken using the recipe from The Joy Of Cooking. It looked simple and easy enough for anyone to try and be a success at. Since I’m relatively new to the whole foodie world, and cooking I need a lot of easy dishes I know I can make and succeed. Nothing fires up the desire to cook more than one good dish made well.
Roast chicken became my good dish made well. I loved to follow the easy recipe. I mean this recipe is easy-peasy. Only 4 ingredients and none of them are bizarre. First, one raw chicken. (kind of makes sense to me…) salt, pepper and butter. I got so I could follow that recipe without opening The Joy Of Cooking.
I moved to Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her recipe is a bit more involved and detailed than the other one. But I was determined to try it. Until I read things like “baste every 8-10 minutes…” and “…smear butter inside the chicken….”. Uhm hey, no thanks. I have no desire to stick my hand inside a chicken. I know, I know, there isn’t anything in there but the very thought of putting my hands inside a chicken, where the heart and lungs, liver and other vital organs were does not appeal to me in the least little bit. Sends shudders through me even now. She also has you “truss” the poor chicken. Alas, I had nothing with which to truss the poor bird so he remained un-trussed. I’m sure he was thanking me for it.
So again, in using Mastering The Art of French Cooking, I improvised earlier than Julia said to. Directions are so hard to follow sometimes. All in all though, I think the bird was a success. The meat practically fell off the bone and begged us to eat it. But the biggest show of success…it was done on time!!
Judge for yourself on it’s delectable goodness….