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French Fridays with Dorie: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

Roast chicken’s and I have a mixed relationship.  I  like them but I don’t like dealing with them.  I will never forget my first experience with a whole chicken.  It also began my entry into the world of exploring where my food actually came from.  Before I went to Morocco I had never touched raw meat.  Ok maybe I did one or two times, but I am more than certain I had never cleaned or touched a whole raw chicken.  One day my husband decided we should have a few of his friends over for dinner and could I cook?

Not wanting to appear completely incompetent domestically I agreed.  We went shopping in the afternoon to the market stalls, not the grocery store.  This should have been one of my first clues that things were going to go downhill.  When we got to the chicken man, he proudly held up two chickens for me to pick from.  I am pretty sure that my jaw dropped to my feet.  I closed my eyes and pointed at one.  In a few seconds I heard a THUD and then a lot of scratching and kicking.  I had to walk away before I threw up.  This was followed by “do you want that cleaned?” Uhh yes.  In about 10 minutes I was handed a warm chicken in a plastic bag.  Taaa daaa!  We walked home and I went in the kitchen to look at the chicken.  It was still warm.  I now was facing down a dead, warm, raw chicken.  I couldn’t even call my mom to figure out what to do next.  My husband was baffled as I tried to explain just how different this experience was from what I was used to.

Somehow I managed to season and cook the thing.  I know that I had to walk away a few times because just the thought of touching that thing gave me the creeps.  It must have been somewhat decent because the three guys that were eating finished it off in about 8 minutes.  I am very proud to say raw meat no longer scares me.  In fact I prefer to see the animal alive beforehand.  It assures me that the animal is healthy and the meat is fresh.  I’ve also realized if we can’t handle knowing where our food comes from then we probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Back to the reason for this post!  It’s Friday and that means time to use Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours!  I made this recipe last week with the Potato Gratin.  It was a good duo although a little rich.  This chicken is fantastic however.  Even my 3 year old, whose favorite meal is a ketchup sandwich (no really he loves ketchup sandwiches) ate his portion!

This is another very easy recipe.  Everything basically is tossed into one pot.  I used shallots instead of onions and my chicken was in pieces instead of a whole chicken.  I don’t think it made that big of a difference but it worked a little better with my family.  The chicken is resting on pieces of French bread.  This is a great recipe if you have bread that is too hard to eat and you don’t want to waste it.

This is about 1/2 way through roasting.  The hardest part of this recipe was controlling the amount of liquid.  Too much and the bread would be soaked and would be a soggy mess.  Not enough and it would burn up.  In the end I used too much and ended up with slightly soggy bread.  I tried to salvage it by putting it on a cookie sheet at the end and broiling it to try and crisp it up.  Didn’t really work.  Even though it was still a little wet I ate it, and I liked it.

Mmmmm the finished product.  I reduced the liquid that was left and poured it on top.  It was good.  Very moist, and tons of flavor.  I will be making this again really soon!

Do you want to join in on French Fridays with Dorie?  You should!  Pick up the book and sign up to join in!  Let me know if you do so I can follow you!


  1. Wow, great story! I probably would have had a very similar reaction at the market! Kudos to you for making it through the meal!!

  2. Allison – Thanks for sympathizing! It was something I'll never forget! onewetfoot – I was really happy wiht how the pieces turned out – made it a lot easier to serve also.

  3. I agree that knowing where our food comes from is really important. My parents have a hobby farm and it's nice to know that the animals I am eating had a good, healthy life. I may follow your lead with this recipe sometimes and use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken.

  4. Hi!
    Congratulations! Your blog has been nominated for the Best of Morocco Blogs 2011! Kindly send an email to to receive your nomination badge code.

  5. I loved your post about your first time cooking a whole chicken! It makes me fell a lot better even though yours was far more traumatic. Or at least I would have been far more traumatized by your experience. Yeah that all I had to do was talk to the butcher at Wholefoods!

    Thanks for sharing!

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