French Chicken in a Pot Recipe

This chicken dish is wonderfully aromatic from the moment the sautéing begins and results in a sauce that is equally wonderful. The left over sauce works great as an ingredient in other recipes. Oh, and the chicken is tasty too.


  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 2 teaspoons gray sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 fennel stalks, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Adjust an oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 250 ℉.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

In a 6 3/4 quart Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the chicken, breast-side down. Scatter the onion, fennel stalk, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.

Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Place a large sheet of foil over the pot, then cover tightly with the lid.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until a thermometer registers 160 ℉ when inserted in thickest part of breast. A 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5 to 6 pound bird will take close to 2 hours.

Transfer the chicken to carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from the pot through fine-mesh strainer into a fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard the solids. You should have about 3/4 cup of juices.

Allow the liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into a saucepan and set over low heat.

Carve the chicken, adding any accumulated juices to the saucepan. Stir lemon juice into the saucepan to create the jus, or sauce. Serve the chicken, passing jus at table.

January/February 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine