Roasted Chicken Basted in Cream
“Jesus that’s good.” Those are the words of my husband Marshall as we savored this spender of a dish. It is salty, it is creamy, it is glorious.
When I was first given Julia’s book, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, I opened it immediately and started flipping through the pages, looking for something interesting to pop out at me. This dish was that one special recipe that popped out, whispering my name ever so gently like the waves of an ocean, Bryon… Bryon… Bryon.
Excited at the prospect of making such an amazing find, I started to scan through it and quickly and shamefully came to the realization that it was not going to easy. (Not at all.) Fortunately I was so full of anticipation that I didn’t care if it was difficult or not. I just wanted to cook.
The photos above are my first attempt at making this dish. The first time around, I just threw things together thinking I knew what I was doing. (Look at me, I’m Bryon!) Marshall and I had discussed a few short cuts, and he gave me some advice. (which I promptly did not listen too) So, I tried to do the dish.
Well, turns out the chicken wasnt cooked all the way through. I also added way too much boullion to sauce, making it incredibly salty. The sauce also never fully set up nice and thick, so it was very thin. (I am beginning to realize that I will always cook a dish twice. Once to ruin it, and once to do it correctly.)
Being as determined as I am in my post-cancer life (I see myself standing on a small knoll in France dressed as Napoleon and holding a sword high above my head), I set out to try the dish again. This determination will later help me make Hollandaise sauce at some point down the road (I will prevail!!!). So we set about obtaining the ingredients again. Marshall actually found an organic air dried small chicken at a local grocery store and I went to my local butcher as well and got half a pound of chicken livers to make the stuffing. Now, it was just time to cook it! (Admire the pictures below with awe and wonder. I will give you all a minute.)
I started late the night of the dinner, about 7pm, trying and hoping that it would be done and ready when Marshall walked through the door at 9-ish. Unfortunately I kept forgetting different ingredients, so had to goto the store one more time before I even got started. I was determined damn it! After going to the store AGAIN, I finally started the chicken around 8pm. From start to finish, this dish takes about two and a half hours to make, so obviously it wasn’t ready when Marshall came home.
I began by creating the giblet stuffing. I never imagined I would love giblet anything. I went 35 years without deliberately trying to make anything with giblets. Why did I wait so long you ask? Because I am Bryon, and I am weird and picky. The stuffing is slightly buttery, rich and meaty. The recipe says to use bread crumbs to add body and substance to the stuffing, but I used rice because we live in Hawaii which is a surrogate of Japan. (‘Nuff said)
Julia’s master recipe for roasting a chicken was a bit bonkers when I first read through it. You brown the skin slightly with breast side up. Sounds normal right? Then you take the chicken and set it on its left side. Yes, set it on its left side, that is what I said. Brown it for another 5-10 minutes. Then you turn the bird onto its right side, and do the same as before, basting as you go. Next, you just leave the bird on its right side for half the cook time! Dead serious here… Then, halfway through the cook time, you flip it to the left side again and leave it to brown and cook for the rest of the cooking time, finally flipping it down about 15 minutes towards the end.
At this juncture, we decided it would be best to turn the chicken breast side down for 15 minutes, continuing to baste. We then turned it breast side up to finish as we basted with the heavy cream.
There is a lot of work in roasting the chicken, opening your over every 10-15 minutes to either flip your bird, or baste it. Be prepared to be in your kitchen for quite a while. It is not a good night to start binging a new TV show.
As time consuming and difficult as this dish it, the result is brilliant. A smooth creamy sauce, a rich stuffing and a perfect chicken. You will NOT, I repeat, NOT, be disappointed. This is my new favorite chicken recipe, like, ever.
Have faith, have no fear, and you if you mess it up, serve it anyways, no one will know the difference!!!
Baste on my friends, baste on!