French style roast chicken

French style roast chicken

This French style roast chicken (poulet roti) was inspired by our travels through Paris. Garlic butter under the skin keeps the chicken breast succulent while a dry salt brine helps you achieve a crispy skin. Roasting the chicken on top of potatoes and carrots means you also get to enjoy a delicious side dish without extra cooking! 

French style roast chicken

Kenny and I celebrated our first year of marriage with a 4 month sabbatical in Europe. Our sojourn ended with a one month stint in Paris that we recall fondly at least once a week. Four weeks with the love of my life in the city of lights was magical. 

Every so often, I enjoy flashes of nostalgia brought on by a fragrant baguette, a slate-grey sky, or a perfectly roasted chicken. One of our go-to meals in Paris was poulet roti (rotisserie chicken). Every market had grab-and-go versions of the delicious poultry served on a bed of chicken-fat roasted potatoes and carrots. We’d grab a container of chicken, a fresh baguette, and a large bottle of sparkling water and head to one of many Parisian parks. 

French style roast chicken

Rotisserie chicken will forever stir up memories of our wonderful extended honeymoon in France. To relive those memories often, I love to make French style roast chicken for Kenny and I to enjoy. 

To make my version of this poulet roti, I rub garlic butter under the skin to keep the chicken breast moist. I generously salt the entire bird with kosher salt, making sure the cavity gets extra attention. There’s nothing worse than a roast chicken that smells amazing but tastes bland. 

To make the skin extra crisp, I slather olive oil over the surface of the chicken. You can use butter, however, the water content in butter doesn’t allow the skin to get as crisp as pure oil does. You can sprinkle herbes de Provence over the chicken or simply season it with kosher salt. The prepared chicken is roasted in a low oven (325 degrees) for about 3 hours resulting in flavorful rotisserie style chicken at home! 

While we anxiously wait for post COVID travels to resume you can get a taste of Paris with this roasted chicken recipe…that’s what Kenny and I have been doing anyway. Bon appetit!

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French style roast chicken


  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature  
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 35 pound roasting chicken, whole 
  • Kosher salt  
  • ½ yellow onion, cut in half
  • 1 lemon, cut in half (use the lemon you zested)
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
  • Olive oil 
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 67 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks (about the same size as your potatoes)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine the butter, garlic, and lemon zest. Set aside. 
  2. Prepare your chicken by removing any gizzards from the cavity. Cut off any excess fat around the cavity and pluck any stray feathers. 
  3. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water. 
  4. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. 
  5. Place the chicken on a cutting board (preferably plastic) with the breast side up. 
  6. Gently lift the skin away from the breast meat, using your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat (you can use sharp kitchen shears to cut any membrane holding the skin to the meat). 
  7. Use your fingers to smear the garlic butter onto the breast meat, underneath the skin. Try not to tear the skin but it’s not the end of the world if you do. 
  8. Liberally sprinkle kosher salt all over the chicken and inside the cavity. The amount of salt you use will depend on the size of your chicken. 
  9. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the onion wedges and lemon. 
  10. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to keep the onion and lemon from falling out. 
  11. Place the prepared chicken in the refrigerator (on a plate), uncovered, for a minimum of 1 hour but preferably overnight. Keeping the chicken uncovered will help dry out the skin so it can crisp in the oven. 
  12. When you’re ready to roast the chicken, adjust an oven rack to the bottom thirds of the oven. 
  13. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
  14. In a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and herbes de provence. 
  15. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, and coat with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on the size of your chicken). 
  16. Sprinkle the salt, garlic, and onion powder all over the chicken, including all over the legs and underneath the chicken. 
  17. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack inside a roasting pan (or directly inside a deep baking dish if you don’t have a roasting pan). 
  18. Bake in the oven for 1.5 hours. 
  19. Remove the chicken from the oven, transfer it to a cutting board or plate temporarily. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and toss to coat with the olive oil and chicken fat. 
  20. Move the chicken back into the baking dish (still in the rack) or place it directly on top of the layer of potatoes and carrots if you don’t have a baking rack. 
  21. Place the chicken with the potatoes and carrots back into the oven and roast until the juices run clear and the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer, another 1.5-2.5 hours. 
  22. Your cook time will depend on the size of your bird. If the juices don’t run clear when the thighs are pierced with a knife, return the chicken to the oven. 
  23. Remove the roasted chicken from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. 
  24. Serve with the roasted potatoes and carrots along with any vegetable sides you like. 
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3 Comments

  1. Wow! Amazing flavors, cooked perfectly, filling and delicious. My husband and I really enjoyed cooking this together and eating it even more. Already thinking about leftovers tomorrow.

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