Most of the chickens we buy these days are sold ready for roasting. Are they ready though? Yeah, but no. Not really. Not if you want to get maximum flavour. There are all kinds of trimmings to be found around the carcass that can be removed and used.
Here’s the approach to a 1.5kg Poulet Rôti au Jus avec Pomme Cocotte.
Remove any excess fat lurking just inside the cavities. Render it down in a pan big enough to take the chicken. Blow torch time. Singe any feathers. Rub the skin gently with some paper towel or the back of a knife to remove the black spots. Use tweezers to pluck any resilient hangers-on. Scorch the feet to peel away the scaly skin for a prettier presentation. Cleaver time. Chop off the wing tips then chop them in half. Trim any neck with scissors and chop. Using a boning knife, remove the wishbone from the top of the chest. This one’s a revelation for me because it makes carving so much easier. I don’t know how many chickens I’ve hacked to pieces in the name of carving. Keep all these bits for the jus. Remove the Parson’s Nose and discard. Truss the birdy.
Discard the fatty chunks from the pan leaving the liquid fat. Place the chicken in the pan leg side down to brown for a few minutes then into the oven for 15 minutes at 200C. Turn the chicken over so the other leg side is down in the pan. Baste and back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Lift the chicken to let any juices inside the cavity run into the pan. Place the bird into the pan breast side up. Baste. Add the trimmings. Back into the oven for 20 minutes. Repeat basting thereafter until the bird is 72C and the juices are clear. Rest on a rack with foil over the top.
Add Mirepoix to the pan to brown. The flavour and colour of the end jus depends entirely on the proteins stuck to the pan and the colour you get on the veg. As browning happens the oil becomes clear. I’d never noticed that before. Mop up the excess oil with paper towel then deglaze with water. Reduce by 50% removing any fat or impurities that dwell on the surface. I totally forgot to do this so my jus was greasy. Pass through a chinois then pass through fine muslin cloth.
You can imagine the smell coming from our kitchen. A few chefs paid us a visit and seemed to linger. I wonder why :-).
In the demo, chef also knocked up Canard de Gressingham Poélé avec Sauce Bigarade et Pomme Gaufrette or pot-roasted duck with orange sauce and lattice crisps. When you buy a duck you get the offal—neck, heart, liver, gizzard, kidneys, even the lungs. All these bits are conveniently stored in a small plastic bag found in the cavity, except for the lungs. The lungs are actually still attached to the carcass and were not removed by aspiration. You might find the kidneys still attached inside a chicken but for food safety reasons, most offal is not included. You can purchase some pieces separately such as chicken livers and hearts.