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JULIA: Poulet poêle a l'’’estragon.
Chicken baked in a covered casserole with tarragon and potatoes.
It'’’s a delicious dish that we'’’re gonna do now on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ Welcome to The French Chef.
I'’’m Julia Child.
Today we'’’re going to do a perfectly lovely way of cooking chicken called casserole roasting, and you can also use it for roast veal or for roast pork, and the nice thing about it is that you cook it with herbs and aromatic vegetables or whatever you would like, and it steams quietly in its own juices and produces a most flavorful and tender piece of chicken meat or veal.
You do all of them the same way.
We'’’re doing chicken today.
And what we'’’re going to do is we'’’re gonna truss the chicken, which is very important, because when you serve it, you want the legs and the arms and everything to be nicely held together so that the chicken looks attractive when it'’’s on the table.
This is a four-pound, young, roasting chicken which will serve four to five people.
If you want to jot down notes as I go along, I'’’ll give you full details.
Now, for the trussing, the French always use a long trussing needle like this.
I looked all over town and I was unable to find one.
Someone told me that if you had a sail needle you could use that.
But I went to the five and ten and I found some just wooden knitting needles like this, which my husband drilled a hole in like that, and that works perfectly well as a trussing needle.
If you don'’’t have a handy man in the house, you could ask your dentist.
They love to drill holes in things.
So, to begin with, you want a nice piece of white kitchen string.
And there'’’s our needle ready.
And then we have to look over the chicken to make sure everything'’’s all right about it.
Sometimes you find that the neck is a little bit too long, in which case you just take your knife and cut it off like that.
In this case, it'’’s all right.
And if there'’’s extra fat, you can pull that off.
And you want to look through here and see if there'’’s any extra fat hanging around there, which you can also pull off.
And I always take out the wishbone, because I find that carving is much easier if you do.
And to do that, you just take a little knife and cut around on each side of it.
You see your white meat comes up here, and then goes down underneath the bone, and if you get the wishbone out, you can do a much nicer job of carving the white meat.
There you have the bone where it attaches to the shoulder there and you just cut it out like that.
And then you just take the two ends and twist it around and there, it'’’s out.
And then you have your solid meat going from there to there and it makes carving much easier.
And now we have two ties.
The first one is to hold the... is to make the chest look well and to hold the wings to the body.
And you start this way.
You lift the legs up like that and then you go right through where the second joint in the leg connect onto each other, and then just pull your string through.
Then... See, there your string'’’s coming out that side.
So as you turn your chicken over and you have your wings folded akimbo, then you take your neck skin and pull it.
Sometimes you don'’’t have very much neck skin, in which case you just have to forget about that step.
Then you go through that part of the wing and that part of the wing.
A little hard to get through sometimes.
And then with your neck skin pulled, you dig down into the back, like that.
Then you go through the other part of the wing.
And then if you have a towel handy, you just pull the string through like that.
And then tie it up, nice and tight.
It'’’s better to make a double twist here... ...like that, and then twist it over again.
Now, you see that gives the breast a nice look.
In France they call that une belle poitrine.
And now, French... a small chicken like this doesn'’’t need any stuffing.
And most of the French chickens aren'’’t stuffed.
We'’’re gonna put in a little tarragon or you can put in other herbs.
Tarragon you can get at any supermarket now, and it just goes beautifully with chicken.
I'’’m putting in about a teaspoonful.
And then about a half teaspoon of salt.
Just goes in there.
We don'’’t put any pepper in.
But it'’’s always nice to have a little bit of onion, because that flavors it up nicely.
Or you can use shallot or anything else.
I mean, shallot or green onion.
Here, I brought along a shallot and some green onions or scallions.
You can use those inside.
And now, when that'’’s been... that'’’s all the stuffing you need, and as it...
Even with these new glasses of mine, I can hardly see to thread a needle in even this big one.
Now, the second and final tie is to get the legs together.
And to pull the breast down.
So that'’’s very simple.
You just go underneath this part.
And then your legs are like that.
You just go under that bit of skin and through the tip of the breastbone.
And then through that way.
And then tie it again.
Twist it around.
Now I'’’ll review these ties again for you.
The first one you lift the legs up, put your needle through, turn the chicken over and go through there and there.
And then the second one you just go under here and through there, and it doesn'’’t hurt the chicken at all to have these little holes in it.
You'’’d have just as much if you had skewers.
And now we'’’re gonna brown it in hot oil.
But first I'’’m gonna give it a little butter massage, which is always very nice for it.
That also prevents it from sticking to the pan.
That looks nice, doesn'’’t it?
And it'’’s so neat and it'’’ll cook just that way.
And it'’’s much nicer than having the legs flapping around.
Now, we can brown it in butter and oil, but I think I'’’ll just brown it in oil.
This is a light olive oil.
Or you can use a peanut oil.
It'’’s going to get more butter later on.
And after we brown it, it'’’s gonna go into this casserole.
Now, if you don'’’t...
Some people brown it in the casserole.
I just find it easier to do in a frying pan, '’’cause it'’’s easier to turn around and you can see what you'’’re doing much better.
Now, as always with browning, we want to make sure that our oil is very hot.
If you had butter, you could tell by looking at the butter foam, but we don'’’t... we'’’re not using butter this time, '’’cause I think, for browning, the butter burns a little bit and gets sort of an off flavor.
Now, as soon as that'’’s hot, which it almost is, you just... this is an illustration of you just have to wait and let the fat get hot.
You can'’’t rush it, because if you... you cannot brown anything in fat that isn'’’t hot.
It just steams and nothing happens.
Now that'’’s beginning to get hot enough.
And you start on the breast side.
I think it'’’s easier to turn the chicken with your hands.
Actually, when you'’’re cooking, you ought to get used to using your hands a lot, '’’cause they'’’re the best instruments that you have.
We'’’re trying to brown on this side and a little bit on the breast side.
And it'’’ll take about five minutes.
You just keep turning it.
You can, of course, brown it... turn it with two spoons.
But if you do, you have to be very careful that you don'’’t break the chicken skin, '’’cause as it browns and crisps up, it becomes quite delicate, and we want it to keep itself whole.
The back is not so important, because you... '’’cause you don'’’t see it.
It'’’s gonna cook in the casserole breast-up.
Now, if you'’’re cooking a roast of veal, you'’’d have the veal tied into a sort of a sausage shape and then you'’’d brown it just exactly the same way.
In fact, you can think that you'’’re either doing pork or veal when you'’’re looking at this chicken, because the method is exactly the same.
We'’’re gonna cook this with potatoes, but you could also cook it with onions... and potatoes, which is an awfully nice combination.
But we did so many onions in our last recipe, I thought you'’’d probably seen enough of them.
Now we'’’re gonna take it over on this other side.
You keep regulating your heat.
You want your fat always to be hot, but never burning.
And now this part, you want... '’’cause the breast is what you'’’re going to see, you really want to get a nice little color onto the breast.
Um... And you can cook the chicken without browning it at all.
You could just rub it with butter and put it in the casserole like that.
That'’’s... in France, this method of cooking is called poêler, because in the old days before they had covered pots, they'’’d brown it in a pan like this and then they'’’d put a frying pan called a poêle on top of it.
So that was where the name poêler came up.
This is the one step in it that you just have to watch and do carefully.
I can'’’t say that there'’’s anything very difficult about it.
But once the chicken gets into the casserole, you don'’’t have to do anything at all about it.
It just cooks by itself.
The only little bit that you have to watch is the browning.
Browning, besides looking nice, gives the chicken skin a nice, good taste.
You can also do duck this way, which is awfully good.
One thing about the browning it, if you do it fairly slowly, an awful lot of the extra fat comes out, which is a help, always.
Now it'’’s gonna go a little bit long, the side of that.
And another good thing are those little game hens, done in a casserole, are simply lovely.
You can always cook them with a little bit of wine, too.
Now, that'’’s browned sufficiently, so we'’’re gonna put it in the casserole.
And next... Now it'’’ll have a little bit of salt and we'’’ll put a little bit of more tarragon in.
You can use-- there'’’s a nice seasoning called Italian seasoning which has sort of a mixture of herbs which is awfully good with chicken.
So you can really use either one.
Want to have enough flavor of the tarragon, because as the chicken starts cooking, its juices will come out.
Again, we don'’’t put any pepper on it, but we want the breast to be protected, so I'’’m gonna put this over here-- you always want to warm up the casserole before you put it in the oven.
So we'’’re going to protect the breast with bacon.
But this is ordinary bacon, but it'’’s been simmered for ten minutes in water, '’’cause we want to get the smoky, salty taste out of the bacon.
If you don'’’t do that, you would have chicken bacon rather than chicken tarragon.
And very often, you see a recipe saying that "bacon is to be used," and unless it specifies smoked bacon-- and you'’’re reading a French recipe-- always blanch it.
And that means just drop it in a pan of simmering water-- and I'’’ve already blanched this, so I'’’m not gonna do it-- let it simmer quietly for ten minutes, and pour it through a sieve and... and rinse it in cold water and then dry it and you'’’ve gotten out the smoky taste.
You could, in the beef stew that we did the other day, you could add bacon to cook with that, and it would be very nice.
Had you blanched it first.
Now, we want to be sure that the casserole is going to be good and hot when it goes into the oven.
That'’’s one of the things you always want to watch when you'’’re cooking something like this.
If you want to time it accurately, heat up your casserole first.
This is a very nice, imported casserole, which I love, but I'’’ve also seen at the hardware store some very nice heavy aluminum oval casseroles which are not terribly expensive but it'’’s the kind of thing that will last you a lifetime.
Now, that'’’s beginning to sizzle a little bit, which means the casserole is heating up.
We'’’ll just cover it and let it go for another second or two.
If you don'’’t have the casserole heated, then you can'’’t time correctly.
Now, I can consider that that'’’s hot enough, and we'’’re gonna put it into our oven.
And this is going to go into a 325 oven.
And we'’’ll cook for... very slowly.
You want to make sure that it'’’s making cooking noises but you don'’’t want it to cook too fast.
It'’’s supposed to be a slow, steamy cooking, and that will allow all the flavors of the tarragon and the onion and the butter to penetrate into the chicken.
And this chicken is going to take-- I'’’ve written it down, '’’cause I'’’m very bad at mathematics.
I'’’ll have to get my glasses.
It takes-- this is a four-pound chicken, is gonna take about an hour and 15 to 20 minutes.
A three-pound chicken would take an hour and five to ten minutes, and a five-pound one would take an hour and 20 to 30 minutes.
You'’’ll notice that the larger the chicken, the less time per pound it takes to cook.
So if you go by something like 20 minutes a pound, it just isn'’’t gonna work if you get a big chicken.
I'’’ve found the best method is it'’’s seven minutes a pound plus 45.
In other words, there'’’s always a 45 minute in there and then you just say, this is a four-pound chicken, that'’’s four times seven is 28, plus 45, which is-- I'’’m gonna put on my glasses-- an hour and 15 to 20 minutes.
Well, that'’’s a good rule to go by, and it always seems to work.
Now, we'’’re gonna do the potatoes, which go into the chicken.
I'’’m gonna get my water boiling.
And these potatoes, you always boil a little bit in water first, and then sauté briefly, which will dry them off, and then they go right into the casserole with the chicken.
And it'’’s a lovely way to do the potatoes, '’’cause the chicken juices and the potatoes all sort of meld together, and they'’’re just lovely.
And you want, one thing, is you want it to look nice and neat and the potatoes should all be somewhat the same size.
I'’’ll show you how you cut them.
Here, we have an enormous potato.
And you can cut this in three like that.
And then just trim it, and you can save all the trimmings to make soup.
But what you want to do is to get off all the rough edges, and you don'’’t want any flat things like that.
-(ringing) I guess someone'’’s at the door, but I'’’m not gonna go and answer it at this time.
Now, all these peelings are fine to make the leek and potato soup, or something like that, with.
But this is mostly sort of a little nicety of having your potatoes look... all about the same way.
This is called, in France, these are-- I'’’m gonna take-- see that'’’s a flat edge, and when I sauté it, that'’’s gonna stick to the pan.
That'’’s why I'’’m cutting that off.
Potatoes cut in this shape are called, in France, pomme château, I suppose, because people who lived in chateaus always took the time to do this kind of peeling.
And now they go into rapidly boiling water, and... (clears throat) you let them come back to the boil, and boil for about a minute.
And they should have a bit of salt in them.
Oh, I guess the salt'’’s over here.
I'’’m putting in about a... you use a teaspoon and a half of salt per quart of water, and I'’’ve got about two quarts of water there.
And that hasn'’’t quite come to the boil.
But this gives a little precooking to them.
Then, no, I'’’ll... drain them out after that.
There, now those have come to the boil.
We drain them out.
And then we'’’re going to sauté them briefly in hot oil.
We use lots of oil here.
I like using olive oil for cooking, because... it doesn'’’t have any off odors to it.
We want to get our oil hot, as usual.
Now, the reason that you sauté them quickly is to dry them off.
If you didn'’’t sauté them, they might stick to the casserole and be sort of a mess.
This is just one of those little tricks.
I'’’m using one of these... no-stickum pans.
I like it very much.
They'’’re awfully good for potatoes, because you don'’’t... they don'’’t stick, and very often potatoes do stick, and then you have a terrible time.
But I use the pan just as I do any... just as I do any ordinary pan-- I use oil and everything else.
Now, you can, if you want, brown them a little bit.
Just depending on what affect you want.
Now, that'’’s enough-- they'’’re dried off.
And they go back into the oven... ...with the chicken.
Now, as you see, this chicken now doesn'’’t need any more attention at all.
The potatoes just go in there around it, and they'’’re gonna cook with it.
And if you want, you can...
I think it is a good idea to baste the potatoes with a bulb baster, so that they'’’ll get a little bit of the butter and juices from the chicken.
There you are-- that'’’s all you have to do with the chicken until it'’’s done, in about an hour and ten minutes.
And now we have this chicken, which has stayed warm, and I'’’m gonna show you how to carve.
I'’’ll go get my carving things.
It'’’s awfully nice if you can have the... if you can have the chicken carved at the table, but that... you don'’’t always have somebody in the house who does know how to carve.
The best way to learn how to carve is to do it yourself in... in the kitchen.
Then, when you get expert at it, you can... you can carve at the table.
This looks like a wild thing.
But I'’’ll show you what I'’’m gonna use it for.
Now, the great problem is: when is the chicken done?
And you can tell by-- I'’’ll move this over here... turn off the heat-- you can tell by pressing the chicken'’’s legs-- if they seem tender, that means it'’’s done-- and lifting them like that.
And then your final check is draining the juices out of the chicken.
And if the last juices come out... come out clear, the chicken is done.
Put that over there.
Now, I'’’ve got to put on my glasses.
Now we take off those trussing strings.
This if you were... someone was gonna carve it at the table.
The trussing strings you would take out in the kitchen, of course.
'’’Cause it'’’s awful if... strings and skewers and things like that are sticking out.
Now... first thing is we take the legs off, like that.
Just bend the leg back... with your fork... and then cut it in half, like that.
Then you take the leg off on the other side.
Just a matter of bending it.
There you are.
Now, for the wings, in France you always cut a little bit of the breast along with the wing, like that.
And the wing is attached right onto the shoulder.
And then you do the same thing on the other side.
Now, that makes a nice serving piece, with a wing like that.
Then, to get the breast meat off-- of course, this is... you can'’’t do this except in the kitchen-- cut your breast... using poultry shears.
Then... if you were doing it at the table, you'’’d be slicing the breast off, but here-- (laughs): this is what I have this big mallet for-- you just cut it in half.
If it'’’s a big... if it'’’s a big chicken, you...
Now, you can use the back as sort of... as a rest for the rest of the chicken, and then you just arrange the rest of the chicken around that way.
And there'’’s your wing-- that makes a very nice little piece.
You'’’ve got your drumsticks.
And you can... that tarragon smell, just lovely as it'’’s coming out, it'’’s really cooked all through the chicken.
Then... you have your potatoes.
And you can just pour everything right over, so there'’’s the juices that have cooked with the chicken, and there are the potatoes.
And you can put a little parsley around.
And we'’’re ready to serve.
And there we are.
You can, if you want to, put the chicken right back into the casserole-- that is, if you'’’re not gonna serve it right away-- carve it and put it back into the casserole, and then... take it out onto a platter, or else... just serve it from the casserole.
And once you'’’ve cooked this chicken, it'’’ll... you can... oh, it'’’ll stay warm for about half an hour, if you keep it in a very slow oven, only partially covered.
But once it cools off, you can'’’t really reheat it again and get the nice, juicy taste.
And with the chicken, we'’’re going to have fresh buttered peas.
And you could... had you cooked onions with this, and mushrooms, which you could have, you would have had a green salad, which would have been very nice.
And we have our table set up for four, and we'’’re going to have a red Bordeaux wine, or claret, as some people call it.
You want to be sure, with the wine, that the... you don'’’t serve a heavy, rough wine.
'’’Cause chicken is delicate.
So you should have a red wine that would, as they say, marry nicely with it, so that the chicken complements the wine, and vice versa.
And, as always, we have French bread.
And we don'’’t have any butter, because we'’’ve used enough butter in the cooking, so we don'’’t use butter on the table at all.
Now, next week, we'’’re going to do French omelettes.
And you saw that no-stickum pan that I used for browning the potatoes-- well, that'’’s exactly the pan that we'’’re gonna use with our omelettes.
This is Julia Child.
Welcome to The French Chef, and see you next time.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is coauthor of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
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This has been a WGBH videotape production.
The preceding program was made possible with the assistance of a grant from S&H Green Stamps.