The secret lies in browning the chicken slowly in the beginning, then into the pot it goes to emerge succulent and so tender it falls off the bone.
Talking chook today with Jesse Mulligan on Radio New Zealand.
1 free-range, organic chicken approximately 1.4kg (about 3 pound/size 14) 6 fresh bay leaves Several sprigs thyme or tarragon, or 1 tsp dried tarragon 2 Tbsp butter Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 head of garlic, broken into cloves and peeled 2 Tbsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard ½ cup dry white wine ½ cup chicken stock
1 Remove any visible fat from inside chicken cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Put a bay leaf and sprig of thyme in the cavity, then tie legs and parson’s nose together with string to close cavity. Choose a casserole which will fit the chicken snugly, then heat the butter in it over a low to medium heat. Brown chicken all over, top and back and the sides. Do this slowly, allowing around 20-25 minutes, to develop good colour and flavour; keep the heat under control so the butter doesn’t burn. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2 Finish with chicken breast uppermost. Add garlic, the rest of the bay leaves and thyme or tarragon to pan and let garlic brown a little. Spread mustard over top of chicken, then pour white wine around sides of chicken, let most of it evaporate, and pour in stock. Bring to the boil, immediately turn heat down to very low, cover with a lid and cook the chicken for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes (allow a bit longer for a larger chicken; check by wiggling the leg, it should appear loose at the ball and socket joint next to the cavity), basting from time to time, or until the chicken is so tender it is nearly falling off the bones. Make sure the chicken cooks at a gentle bubble and doesn’t boil.
3 Transfer chicken to a warmed plate and drape loosely with tin foil. Scoop off any fat from the top of the juices, or transfer the juices to a fat separating jug, wipe out casserole and pour juices back in. If the juices are thin, they can be reduced, or they can be thickened with arrowroot. I usually use them as they are.
4 Carve chicken into joints, discarding any pale-coloured skin if wished, and arrange on a heated platter. Spoon over juices and serve immediately. See How to carve a chicken
This method of cooking a chicken produces fork-tender delicious-tasting meat and is much easier than roasting a chicken because once it is in the pot, it cooks itself. The only trick is to brown the chicken slowly and thoroughly in the beginning to develop a good colour and flavour, and to speed the cooking process. Clarified butter is less inclined to burn than regular butter. I love the chicken with potato mash and a good green vegetable like silverbeet, coloured chard or broccoli
After browning and adding wine and stock, the chicken can be transferred with the liquid to a slow-cooker and cooked as per product instructions.
See all the instructions for carving a roast or pot roasted chicken here How to carve a chicken