The Bread Bed
Everyone in SoupAddict’s household loves chicken, kitties and humans alike. And in SoupAddict’s experience, there’s not a better-slash-simpler technique to ensure a juicy chicken, through and through, than roasting (aside from sous vide … but we won’t go there … at least not today).
So, SoupAddict was not the least bit surprised that Around My French Table included a roast chicken recipe (three, actually). And when she saw the title of this recipe, translated as Roast Chicken for Lazy People (Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux), SoupAddict knew author Dorie Greenspan was on to something: it was as though Dorie wrote this recipe just for SoupAddict. Or at least named it for her.
But, the real delight here is not the chicken: it’s the bread. SoupAddict had no idea what the deal was with the bread when she assembled the dish, so the surprise was extra nice. No matter how you roast your chicken, you should try the bread thing. It’s amazing.
Seasoning a roasted chicken does not have to be complicated. Use your favorite herbs and, of course, salt. SoupAddict’s herb gardens are still going strong, and she has plenty of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Preparing the chicken. First you pet the chicken dry.
Oh, wait, the instructions said to pat the chicken dry. Makes more sense, as this method would’ve taken a while.
[Skips ahead in the instructions to see what's next.]
“Niiiiiice chicken! Gooood little chick-chick-chicken! Absolutely nothing unseemly happens next. No, sir.”
Now, never you mind what’s going on here, little chicken. Never you mind.
Believe me, nobody’s on the winning end of this task.
Stuff the herbs under the skin you just loosened around the breasts.
(I don’t know why, but I’m suddenly having a flashback to prepubescent junior high school, with the stuffed …. Hnnn, nevermind.)
And now for the salt. Salt the bird well. In fact, when SoupAddict roasts chicken, she normally uses only salt as the seasoning. Believe it. It’s true. Salt is your friend.
Cover the bird, and refrigerate for several hours. Overnight’s better.
The recipe says to put bread in the bottom of the pan. Weird. So, SoupAddict took this photograph only because it seemed the thing to do.
Place the chicken on top of the bread bed, breast side up. Remove the herbs from under the skin and place half of them inside the bird’s cavity and the other half scattered around inside the pan. Add a little white wine and olive oil. The whole thing goes into the oven for about 90 minutes. No basting, no turning. Just leave it be.
Goodness knows you’ve already gotten personal enough with the fowl by now.
To be certain the chicken is done, check the temp in the thickest part of the thigh (don’t hit the bone – it will be hotter than the meat). It should be 180°F.
SoupAddict removed the bird from the dutch oven to carve it, and then peered curiously into the depths of the pan to examine the bread bed. Again, weird. And Dorie says to eat this?
SoupAddict flips over one piece: the one side is sort of soggy-looking (top); the other, crispy and crackly.
Uh, okay. Puzzling.
“Trust the Dorie, trust the Dorie.”
Then she takes a bite.
Best. Thing. Ever.
“But what about the chicken?”
Chicken? What chicken? SoupAddict doesn’t know from chicken. She only knows bread.
Bread roasted in pan drippings. Bread. Bread. Bread.