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REC: Julia's Casserole-roasted Chicken with Tarragon. I wanted to break in my new 4-qt Staub

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #23655 at 5:05 pm on Jan 15, 2013

cocotte that I got for Christmas, and I decided to begin at the beginning with this classic recipe. However the smallest chicken I could find was almost 5 lbs. It was too big for my new pot--it stuck to the lid, and there was so much juice at the end the underpart of the bird ended up being boiled. The sauce was a bit watery. Still it was absolutely delicious, and I will make it again, but I will use the 8-qt. Dutch oven I have had all along.

I also made Julia's brown chicken stock while the chicken was cooking. I had never done this before and it really made a difference: Brown chicken necks or whatever you have with onions and carrots. (I used a skillet then transfered to a saucepan and deglazed the skillet with broth.) Cover with plain chicken stock or broth, add herbs and simmer. It was a wonderfully concentrated brown base for the sauce.

Julia Child's Casserole-Roasted Chicken with Tarragon

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hr 45 min
Servings: 4


1 3 pound roasting chicken
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Several tarragon sprigs or 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons butter, if needed
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced carrots
Several sprigs tarragon or 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

2 cups brown chicken stock, or 1 cup canned beef bouillon and 1 cup canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons Madiera or port or sweet red wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon (or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 tablespoon softened butter


1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Thoroughly dry the chicken. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of butter. Insert the tarragon sprigs or sprinkle the dried tarragon. Rub the remaining tablespoon of butter on the outside of the chicken. Note: for a fancier presentation, truss the chicken using butcher's twine by folding the wing tips under back of the chicken and tying the drumsticks (you can find a how-to videos online).

2 Heat a heavy, fireproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil. When the butter foam has begun to subside, lay in the chicken, breast down. Brown for 2 to 3 minutes, regulating heat so butter is always very hot but not burning. Carefully turn the chicken to another side, using 2 wooden spoons. Be sure not to break the chicken skin. Continue browning and turning the chicken until it is a nice golden color almost all over, particularly on the breast and legs. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. Add more oil if necessary to keep the bottom of the casserole filmed.

3 Remove chicken from casserole and set aside. Pour out the browning fat if it has burned, and add fresh butter. Cook the carrots and onions slowly in the casserole for 5 minutes without browning. Add the salt and tarragon.

4 Salt the chicken. Set it breast up over the vegetables and baste with the butter in the casserole. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken, cover the casserole, and reheat it on top of the stove until you hear the chicken sizzling. Then place the casserole in preheated oven.

5 Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, regulating heat so chicken is always making quiet cooking noises. Baste once or twice with the butter and juices in the casserole. The chicken is done when the drumsticks move in their sockets, and when juices run clear.

6 Remove the chicken to a serving platter and discard trussing strings (if used). Add the stock or bouillon and broth to the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping up coagulated roasting juices. Skim off all but a tablespoon of fat. Blend in the cornstarch mixture, simmer a minute, then raise heat and boil rapidly until sauce is lightly thickened. Taste for seasoning, adding more tarragon if you feel it necessary. Stir in tarragon and butter. Strain before serving.

7 Serve chicken with sauce along with additional sprigs of fresh tarragon.

8 Note: recipe from Julia Child, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (Vol 1)


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