French-Style Chicken & Stuffing in a Pot
- Bouquet Garni:
- 2 celery ribs (halved crosswise)
- 8 fresh parsley sprigs
- 6 fresh marjoram (sprigs)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 chicken breasts (bone-in, split, 12 oz each.)
- 2 chicken legs (quarters: thigh and drumstick; bone-in, 12 oz each.)
- 1/2 t salt - table
- freshly ground black pepper (as desired)
- Sausage Stuffing:
- 2 oz white bread (sandwich bread, crusts removed; 2 slices)
- 1 egg (large)
- 1 minced shallot
- 2 t minced garlic
- 2 T minced parsley (fresh)
- 2 t whole grain mustard
- 1 t minced marjoram (fresh)
- 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 2 baking paper sheets (18"x12" each; also called parchment)
- The Rest:
- 2 t oil
- 1.5 lb red potatoes (small, unpeeled, washed)
- 2 carrots (peeled, cut into 1/2" lengths)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 8 whole peppercorns
- 1/4 t salt - table
- 3.5 c chicken broth (as needed; low sodium if using store-bought)
- To Serve:
- 1 T minced parsley (fresh)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300F/150C.
2. Make the Bouquet Garni: Using kitchen twine, tie together celery, parsley sprigs, marjoram, and bay leaf. Set aside.
3. Prepare the chicken: Trim, if necessary. Pat dry with paper towels; sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, and season with pepper. Set aside.
For the Sausage Stuffing:
4. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Add egg, shallot, garlic, parsley, mustard, marjoram, and pepper to processor and pulse to combine, 6 to 8 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sausage and pulse to combine, 3 to 5 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
5. Roll it up: Place one sheet of baking paper on the counter, with the longer edge parallel to edge of counter. Place half of stuffing onto lower third of parchment, shaping it into rough 8"x2" rectangle. Roll up sausage in parchment; gently but firmly twist both ends to compact mixture into 6" to 7"long cylinder, approximately 2" in diameter. Repeat with second piece of parchment and remaining stuffing. Set aside.
6. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving it until browned, 4 to 7 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate. Pour off and discard any fat in pot.
7. Remove Dutch oven from heat and carefully arrange things in these layers in the pot (potatoes on the bottom, chicken breasts on top):
Chicken Legs (in the centre) & Stuffing cylinders (sides)
Enough Broth to submerge all but the top ½" of vegetables
Peppercorns & Garlic (whole cloves) & ¼ tsp Salt
Potatoes & Carrots & Bouquet Garni
8. Place pot over high heat and bring to simmer. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until breasts register 160F, 60 to 75 minutes.
9. Transfer chicken and stuffing cylinders to carving board. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to serving platter, discarding celery bundle. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator; discard solids. Let stand for 5 minutes.
10. To plate: Unwrap stuffing cylinders and slice into ½" (1cm) thick disks; transfer slices to platter with vegetables. Remove skin from chicken pieces and discard. Carve breasts from bone and slice into ½" (1cm) thick pieces. Separate thigh from leg by cutting through joint. Transfer chicken to platter with stuffing and vegetables. Pour ½ cup (120mL) defatted broth over chicken and stuffing to moisten. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve, ladling remaining broth over individual servings.
Notes from Source:
We love the flavors of the French classic, poule au pot, but without the time and, more important, the chickens that French peasants use in this dish, we had to find another way to make the simple but full-flavored dish. Instead of simmering the stuffed chicken, we used browned chicken pieces and decreased the amount of liquid to increase flavor. We rolled the stuffing into cylinders and steamed them along with the chicken, to decrease the cooking time and produce a moist and tender chicken. A simple herb sauce adds bright flavors to this one-pot meal.
Though many traditional poule au pot recipes call for cramming a bread-sausage stuffing inside a whole chicken, we took the less-messy route and made a compact, sliceable stuffing by rolling the bread-sausage mixture in parchment paper. The pair of sausage-shaped logs cook right alongside the chicken pieces and vegetables.
To guarantee that the various components cook up properly, we pack the pot in a specific order: Hardy vegetables sit in the broth at the bottom because water conducts heat more efficiently than air. Longer-cooking dark meat and stuffing sit above them; as the meat and vegetables cook and release juices, they will become almost completely submerged. The delicate white meat rests on top, out of the liquid.