This recipe is in honor of my mom, who would serve "un poulet rôti" every week when I was growing up. My dad was all for the breast and neck, my mom for the wings, my little brother and big sister and I were all crazy about the thighs and the most succulent part: the "soliles" - in English it is referred to as the "oyster" of the chicken. It's the little oval pieces of dark meat next to the thighs that you can find on each side of the carcass.
To make this recipe, I've combined the tips and secrets from all the mamas that I know. Regardless of which part of the chicken is your favorite, you are guaranteed to produce a moist, crispy-skinned chicken. It takes time to prepare, but the results are well worth the wait. The chicken may look fantastic, but I guarantee that by the end of the meal you'll have rolled up your sleeves and will be sucking every last drop of goodness from the leftover bones. Vegetarians, avert your eyes!
Servings: 4 servings
3 to 4 pounder free-range chicken
1-½ teaspoons black peppercorns
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus extra for infuser
2 sage leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon papaya seeds, ground
1 whole lemon, zested and quartered
1 whole clementine, zested and quartered
1 tablespoon old style whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons butter, soften + 1 extra tablespoon for molasse
2 tablespoons molasse
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat the oven at 400°F.
Clean the chicken throughly. Get rid of the fat chunks near the bottom of the chicken. Leave the skin on.
Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
In a mortal and pestle, grind the peppercorns with the salt. Add the garlic and the finely chopped zests until you get a thick paste.
Transfer to a bowl, add papaya seeds, baking soda, 1 finely chopped sage leaf, chopped rosemary leaves, butter and oil to the mix.
Wearing gloves, carefully separate the skin from the flesh without tearing it. It's crucial to keeping the meat moist. Spread all the mixture under the skin, in the cavity and on the outside of the bird. Rub evenly.
Place in a tray and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight until ready to cook. You can marinate the bird up to 2 nights.
Make sure you get the bird out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to get it to room temperature.
Place on the rotisserie of your oven or simply in a roaster. I used a vertical stand with an integrated infuser. I place a little citrus juice in the cup, stuff it with the remnant quarters of citrus, 2 sprigs of rosemary and the remaining leaf of sage, and then seal the infuser. Place the chicken on top and place the whole thing on a tray.
Drizzle oil, then sprinkle a little salt on the bird. Cover just the tip and shoulders with foil so that they don't burn.
Roast 375°F for 45 min. Remove the foil.
In the microwave, melt some butter and the molasses. Baste the bird with the butter mix using a silicone brush. Increase the temperature to 425°F for 15 min to brown the chicken.
Get the bird out of the oven. Cover with foil (don't entirely wrap it, the skin won't be crispy otherwise).
Let the meat rest for a least 10 minutes. Be patient.
Thermometer should register 165 F in the thickest part of the bird or the juice should run clear when you crack around the thighs.
Serve with a good seasonned mustard.
I would advise you to get a free range chicken if at all possible. I've tested this recipe with a "regular" chicken and it didn't turn out nearly as well.
I use French, Vietnamese and Indian (citrus, baking soda, papaya seeds) meat tenderizers to ensure a juicy product.
I usually extract seeds from a papaya, grind them in a mini food processor then place them in an ice-cube tray then freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with my extra pesto.
At the end, if it's not golden brown enough, change setting to a low broil for 3 minutes. Then remove chicken from the oven.
Instead of serving a boring plain mustard, I always like to add a little flavor to it. How about a tarragon/shallot/mustard (it's called a Béarnaise sauce), a green peppercorn truffle sauce, a Saigonese cinnamon balsamic reduction/honey one or a wasabi/lime one. I'll post the recipes later.
Set aside all the goodness inside the infuser. I'll post a recipe of the gravy later and how you can put the chicken fat to good use.