Sunday Chicken, an eternal family fun

Sunday Chicken, an eternal family fun

Banal, chicken, with its garnish with chips, puree or chips? The institution, moreover, because many parameters must be met to guarantee its perfection, between the purchase in the butcher-chicken stable, the preparation and the mastery of cooking. A high-flying exercise, for a simple dish, a true Sunday ritual, as Henry IV, according to legend, would express the wish that every plow in the kingdom had a chicken in the pot every Sunday! “The condition for a successful roast chicken and the absolute priority is the selection of birds”, insists Philip Chronopoulos. The head of the restaurant Le Nolinski, located in the first quarter, admits a weakness for the free poultry from Landes, fed corn, “for its stronger flesh, yellow and oily skin, therefore more crunchy.” A dessert that appears regularly on the institution’s Sunday morning menu.

Corn, a grain rich in carbohydrates and starch, is an important component of poultry feed. “This is never the same, as it varies by breed, slow-growing or fast-growing species,” said Cyril Journiac, founder of JA Gastronomie, an Anjou-based wholesale meat and poultry wholesale company. “We give them only what they are able to assimilate, if it is very energetic, it is useless and goes straight to the stool!” On his Belles-Robes farm, he has been experimenting with chickens for two years with the best method of “generating fat, not in the periphery (that is, under the skin), but in the meat itself.”

At the legendary Lutetia bar, where roast chicken is a bestseller, chef Patrick Charvet adds: and well fed. ‘ The number of days is not insignificant: “standard” chickens, industrially raised, grow rapidly and slaughtered between 35 and 40 days.Feed “PAT” – processed animal protein, a new name approved by the Union “European from this year to determine the flour of animals, namely pork waste, collected up to 22 per square meter available, they develop soft meat that falls. From the bones. Moreover lucky, their relatives” certified “meet certain requirements, such as controlled feed, without animal meal. But their life remains short, with slaughter at 56 days. Of course, the closer it is, the less costly the birds are.

Luxury chicken, bio, not only for its price: its label contains the name of the manufacturer and the precious AB label, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. Treated with phytotherapy when he gets sick, he freely hits his organic cereals until the 112th day of his existence. But “this business of large cooperatives”, in the words of a breeder, does not guarantee a taste comparable to that of chicken selected by chefs.

Among his favorite suppliers, chef Patrick Charvet mentions Arnaud Tauzin, representative of the third generation of breeders of poultry, guinea fowl and festive birds near Saint-Sever in Landes. It even goes beyond the famous “Label Rouge” statute, which imposes in-breeding and slow growth, up to 81 days: “My chickens are slaughtered for a minimum of 14 weeks, ie 15 days longer than the label in question. I do not “I sell teenagers, but adults! And I prefer chickens, which are smaller, less muscular and fatter than men.”

White or yellow? The choice of color also varies according to the terroir, depending on the breeder. “You will find white birds more often in the north of the Loire and in the east. It is an ideal meat to roast and cook in soup. But the color is worth no less than adhering to the conditions of their short life, because they are the ones that will produce a delicious bird.

A chicken farm
A chicken farm

The art of baking

If breeders ’skills and patience are essential to getting quality birds,“ valued as far as Asia from large tables, ”as Cyril Journiac points out, the knowledge of chefs is also essential. “With me, no frills around the chicken!” laughs Philip Chronopoulos. “I coat the whole poultry with soft butter in the ointment, without biting the amount: for example, for a creature of 2.5 kilograms, I use 180 grams of butter. At the bottom of my dish, a mixture of potatoes (mashed potatoes and halved with fingers), carrots, whole onions, garlic heads cut in half. Place the chicken on top, bake at 220 ° C for 8 minutes, then lower to 160 ° C and cook for about 55 minutes. Be careful with the egg whites which you remove about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking so that they do not dry out too much. Fraud? Lemons squeezed directly into the pot halfway through cooking, plus a few sprigs of rosemary! ”

Patrick Charvet, for his part, has developed after countless trials an unmistakable technique for making roasted chicken with crispy skin and incomparable softness: “I was interested in Indian recipes

nes, where birds are marinated in yogurt. At Lutetia we massage our chickens with a mixture of softened butter and buttermilk and then let them rest overnight on a wire rack. Cooking starts at 210 ° C, to fry well, then drops to 140 ° C for 55 minutes. The most important thing is to finish cooking on the wings, so that all the juices come down on the whites, the drier part! At the moment, I like to coat the skin of our chickens with a “walnut praline”, a mixture of grated walnuts, semi-salted butter, honey vinegar and soy sauce… “

Ennobled by chefs who have managed to impose this family dish on the menu of their homes, with often stratospheric prices (from 23 to 33 euros approximately for half the poultry and its garnish), chicken is a friend anyway of home cooking. Nathalie George, author of the brilliant work “Kitchen on the 6th Floor, from Piano to Stove” (Herodios Editions), sets common sense and treasures of imagination for her roasted chicken, accompanied by potatoes, economical and delicious “The secret, besides quality chicken, is broth! You ask your butcher for a carcass or beef bone, or neck and entrails. All this is thrown into a pot of water, without salt and aromatics. It is boiled over low heat, two hours or more.Uses to clean chicken, salt and pepper, coated with a lot of butter (about 150 gr), which I put in the oven at 200/220 ° C for an hour. in contact with the birds is wonderful! Another hour of cooking, a rocking game on the wings, belly and back along the way, and you’re done!

Chicken with casserole

To change the delights, chicken lovers enjoy the versions where the sauce, unclean, sometimes enriched with cream, mushrooms, wine, smears the tender meat of a chicken boiled over low heat. Thus, the childhood recipe of Emmanuelle Jary, youtuber and author of “Better When It’s Good” (Hachette Editions), is a hunting chicken, “simply floured the day before, turned into a butter-butter mixture and flagged in white wine.the next day.Add the fried mushrooms to the butter.The longer the sauce is cooked, the better it tastes! And it is best on the third day, when it is heated and the meat separates from the bones… if left “I always cook it in a Raymond Loewy casserole, inherited from my grandmother. More than a tradition, an institution at home, on Sunday evenings!”

Still on the cocottes register, but more sophisticated, chicken with yellow wine and spices from “L’Auberge Bressane”, avenue de la Motte-Piquet, is a delight to the crowd, including on Sunday. “Not too complicated, but prestigious”, according to chef Jean-Marie Vetier, the recipe works because it is “traditional”: lots of reductions, double cream, yellow wine, morel. Everything to satisfy lovers of local cuisine, nostalgic for the 80s or even for the glorious thirties. Evidence that chickens, to paraphrase the work of great chef Alain Chapel, “is much more than a recipe”: a cultural symbol.

Roast chicken and new potatoes
Roast chicken and new potatoes

Recipes for chicken hunters

Excerpt from “Better when it’s good”, by Emmanuelle Jary (Hachette editions)

For 4 to 6 people

Preparation: 10 min

Cooking 1 hour 45 minutes

Rest 1 night

1 large chicken (cut into pieces by your butcher)

3 tablespoons. flour

75 cl dry white wine

250 g button mushrooms

3 tablespoons. sunflower oil


Pepper salt

The day before, we grind the chicken pieces with flour. Melt in a casserole 2 tablespoons of oily butter. Fry the minced chicken pieces in flour. When well fried, add white wine, bring to a boil and flame. When the flame is extinguished, add salt and pepper, then cover and cook very gently, stirring regularly for 1 hour.

Allow to cool and then rest overnight in the refrigerator.

On the same day, reheat the chicken very gently in its pan. In a pan fry the mushrooms cut into pieces in butter and add to the chicken. Cook gently for 45 minutes covered. If the sauce is too liquid, remove the lid at the end of cooking to thicken.

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