This is something that we seem to eat once a week because nobody ever gets tired of it and it is such a simple dish to make. You usually also get, if not leftovers, at least some bones for a future broth or soup. Roasted chicken is a pillar of home-cooking in France. This recipe came from my Dad, I think we had this every Wednesday at home when I grew up, served with fries and a green salad: Poulet-Frites-salade and it was more popular than anything. Still is, in fact it is the “Plat du jour” in half of France’ s restaurants.
There is not that much to say except that it is not worth cooking a chicken that is not grain fed and even better also free-range. Chicken is not expensive and it is a good idea to buy the best you can find. To start, turn the oven on 350, and check that there is nothing inside the chicken that you have taken out of the fridge an hour prior; Then, add inside the chicken, one clove garlic cut in half, core removed, one onion cut in half, one smoked sausage and one pinch of tarragon (fresh is best, but dry works as well). Put the chicken on a roasting pan greased with one spoon oil and roast for 50 minutes, no need to baste; now is the important part: take the pan out of the oven, remove the chicken, and throw away all the grease in the pan, do not scrape or rinse. Then, add 1/3 cup of hot water to the pan, one chunk of butter the size of a walnut, stir and put the chicken back in, sprinkle with a little bit of tarragon and a pinch of thyme, add salt and pepper, then finish cooking on 300. Time will vary according to the size of the chicken, usually another 15 to 30 minutes. Lift the chicken and drain all the juices from inside, mix well, and here is the “jus”, carve and serve the chicken. It will have a wonderful subtle smoky flavor from the sausage.
The only better way to do this is on the Rotisserie if you have one.
TIP: Use the tarragon so sparingly that most people can’t identify the herb.