This recipe is old and slow. It requires multiple steps, but let me tell you, it is worth it and it is delicious!! One of the best parts is you can use the roast chicken for anything! So really you’re getting two recipes in one and they can easily be changed for your personal taste. You can do it!
This version I particularly enjoy as it ties in flavors of old France with the comforts of home. One of the key herbs used is Herbs of Provence and if I’m not mistaken can often be found in the local Winco in the bulk section! In fact, you can purchase everything for this recipe at a discount grocery store. My total for this meal that serves 6 was $25 and I purchased everything at a major grocery store (Albertsons or Safeway) except for the herbs of Provence, which I already had on file.
To get started lets list the ingredients:
1 young chicken, raw and thawed and as close to room temperature as possible(before cooking)
2 sticks of salted butter (obviously, you need butter in everything)
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic(at least 7 cloves)
1 large can of Swanson’s Chicken Broth, I mean large, it’s like 30oz. (don’t be cheated into buying stock, you’re making your own by virtue of this recipe, also the large cans are often the cheapest per ounce over the cartons. FYI)
Herbs of (de) Provence
4 medium clip top carrots
3 large stalks of celery
1 bunch green onion
2 large brown mushrooms
For dumplings: 2 cups flour, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp salt, pinch white pepper(if you have it, or small pinch black pepper is fine), and 1 tsp rosemary if you have it, 1 tsp garlic powder.
Alright, first thing’s first, I’m the realest, oh wait, no. Wash that chicken! take out the innards if it has any, and keep the neck if it’s there!! Wash only in cold water, and have a few paper towels next to your station to set it on. Pat the chicken as dry as possible. Inside as well. What we are going to do next is Spatchcock it! I love this technique and it’s a lot easier than you think. I do have one modification, For this roasting I didn’t cut the breast bone cartilage inside the bird. It slipped my mind, and I would probably still not do it as the presentation looks more full. Here’s my end product.
Preheat your oven now to 425 degrees!
Keep the spine and neck and set aside. You’re going to use those. Next, take 4 cloves of garlic and with the flat part of your largest kitchen knife smash them one by one and remove the skins. We are just cracking them to release the flavor. On the edges of the chicken thighs you’ll see the skin and meat are separated due to the spatchcocking. You’re going to insert one clove into each side. So the garlic is under the chicken skin and on top of the meat and over the thigh close to the breast and leg. Next starting at the top of the bird, you might need to use a small sharp knife, separate ever so gently some skin from the breast and the meat, starting at the where the neck would meat the body. Ha. You’re going to place one smashed clove of garlic over each breast while maintaining the skins integrity, ie don’t rip it! if it’s looking like it’s going to rip or you’re not comfortable don’t fret! I have a work around here in a moment. After placing the garlic take 2 tablespoons of butter and break it up into pieces, with one half of it place it with the garlic cloves under the skin, and the other half rub all over the top of the bird. This is why it’s important the chicken be very dry. Now wash your hands.
If you were not comfortable placing garlic and butter below the skin, just rub the extra butter on the chicken as well, who cares, it’s already chicken skin and loaded with calories, what’s another tablespoon of butter? But instead of the cloves, sprinkle roughly 3 teaspoons of garlic powder over your bird.
Now that you have garlic’d your bird in either fashion, it needs to be seasoned. Salt and pepper to coat, do NOT be afraid to use that salt. It’s going on the bird, not necessarily IN it. Coat heavily with your Herbs de Provence, but make sure you have 1-2 Tbs. remaining. To cook, I had a very large cast iron skillet I used, but if you don’t have that, don’t worry, whatever it fits in while laying as flat as possible is fine. 9×13 baking dish, or really anything that can contain it and the juices it will produce.
Roast in oven at 425 for approximately 45 minutes. Remove and stick a meat thermometer into the breast from the neck direction. Get it in there and make sure you hit the poultry point on your thermometer (165 degrees Fahrenheit/74 Celsius). If it’s not to temperature, cook in increments of 15-20 minutes. Remove and let it rest.
However, this is not just a roast chicken dinner, oh no, you’re adventurous enough to make soup to put it in!! So, while the chicken is cooking! Get out your largest pot imaginable. Not really, something that can hold about a gallon’s amount of liquid. For me that was a large and old cast iron dutch oven my grandmother passed to us from her grandmother.
On medium high heat, melt a stick of butter and throw your chicken spine (cut in half), and your chicken neck into the pot. As it’s getting acquainted with the butter chop your: yellow onion, peel and chop your carrots, chop that celery, mince your mushroom ( I clean mine by just rubbing them with a wet paper towel, this is to reduce the moisture they absorb, they should want to absorb your soup! Not useless water), get it all into the pot! Season nicely with salt and pepper (what this means to me in a quantity this large is a SMALL palmfull of each). Stir. It should be sweating pretty quickly. While it does it’s thing, take your remaining garlic and we are going to make a light paste.
This technique is the best for garlic, you thought chopped pieces were enough for your dishes, well think again. Smash and peel your garlic, then mince it to the smallest pieces you can manage. With the flat part of your knife, you’re going to smash it further and slowly pull your knife away, flattening it to your board. Sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and mound it back into a small mountain. Smash it again with the blade of your knife! Get out your frustrations about Margret from next door complaining about your park job and Bob at the office who passes everything to you! They are nothing compared to the deliciousness you are about to infuse into your dish. Smash the garlic 3-4 times and you will see, this wonderful liquid coming from your garlic, it’s the oils, scoop up all of this wonderfulness and put it in your cooking vessel.
Stir your pot of wonders. Now you may need to add the other half of the butter if needed at this stage. If things are looking too dry. There should be brown goodness forming one the bottom of your pan, you can scrape at it with your spoon, but don’t worry, we’ll get it in a minute. Add 1 Tbs of your Herbs de Provence. You can add the other portion if you’d like, I do, I like it strong! If not, leave it out or save it for table side adding. You want your veggie mixture to reduce down and get nice and brown.
Look at that old pot, older than most of the people in my house combined.
You might want to check that chicken, if the skin isn’t brown keep waiting.
Now, you can open your enormous can of broth. Make sure your pot is HOT, remember you’re to be at medium-high heat. Poor some broth in, just a splash. Use your spoon to smooth it around, it should start pulling the brown cooked bits off the bottom, add some more, keep adding and stirring until you’ve added the entire can of broth. Taste at this point and you will be able to see if you need to add more Herbs de Provence/salt/pepper/ etc. Add accordingly, follow your instinct, remember this is quite a bit of liquid, and you can always add, but you can never take out.
At this time also add 3 cups of water to the soup. Let it all come to a boil.
Your chicken might be done now. If it’s not don’t worry. Put your pot on low and the lid on and let it chill, it’s just going to get more yummy the longer it sits. Let it sit until the chicken is done, hell it can sit with the burner off and the lid on if you need to safe on bills.
Once your chicken is to temperature, take it out of the oven and let it sit in its own pan for about 5-7 minutes, this resting period is important. Meanwhile, prep your board. I placed 3 paper towels down on top of one another, grabbed my big sharp knife, a pair of tongs, and a good sized fork. Lift your chicken grabbing it under the breast plate with the tongs and use either the fork or a wooden spoon to support the tail end and transfer it to your paper towel covered board. This thick absorption underneath will save you in cleanup and mess. Slowly disassemble your bird with the knife and fork. I kept my pan out and as I picked meat off, I just put it back in the pan drippings to chill. If you need help on deboning, don’t worry. Just take your time, there is no rush. Add the chicken once your are done back into your soup.
Now, mix your dumpling mixture with a fork, while brining your soup mixture back to boil. Once incorporated, just spoon the mixture into the soup. It will sink and then rise in the soup. You’ll need to turn down the heat a touch so you don’t boil over. When the temperature is stable, put the lid on and cook for 7-10 minutes untouched. Remove the lid, and here I break open one of the dumplings with a fork to make sure it’s cooked. If it isn’t replace your lid for an addition 3 minutes and increase your heat.
Before serving, I add a last sprinkle of Herbs de Provence, and some finely chopped green onions. Scoop into bowls with a ladle, be sure to get everything in your bowl! Some chicken, veggies, and a dumpling. Enjoy!