Friday, February 24, 2012

Roast Chicken with sauce chasseur

Picture: Penny Williams
It's the end of another busy, fantastic week. I have a new role (in another department) at the company I work for, and am in the process of transitioning between the old and the new roles. I am working a couple of days (Sunday/Mondays) in my old role, then the new one for the rest of my working week. I have 2 more weeks of this to go then I can finally sink my teeth fully into the new role - so I feel like I am in a holding pattern at the moment. I think my new boss and team are wonderful, but I already miss the camaraderie of the lab. I am more in a "corporate" type role now and it is a whole new world - even though it is only 100 metres away!

My week started out on a high after our team win at the Whaleboat Championships on Sunday. I also managed to break past my "8 minute barrier" when running. It took a while to get past it, but this week I forced myself to not look at the timer on the iPhone app and somehow managed to push through a whole 12 minutes non-stop. I am pretty sure I levitated all the way home after that. I am now dealing with the fact that I actually am starting to enjoy running. (let's try and keep that just between you and I, yes?).

Food Critic Andrew and I are having  a house-guest this weekend! An old friend is doing a yoga retreat at Apollo Bay then will be staying with us for a couple of nights to explore Warrnambool/indulge in some more seaside meditation.   There are no whales to be seen this time of year, but there is a "Dirty angel". Yeah, that's pretty unfortunate!

Pfft, enough digression - let's talk about what we're all here for - the Chicken that gave me my mojo back.For ages, roasting a decent (and tasty) chicken seemed to be a pipe dream but Guillaume Brahimi has saved the day! Late last year I visited his Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne, and Food Critic Andrew and I were hugely impressed by the tastiest ever roasted chicken we ate there.  

So I don't think it was a coincidence that a copy of "Guillaume - Food for friends" landed in my lap recently. Of course it has the recipe for roast chicken with sauce chasseur ("hunter's sauce") within and I have made it 3 times now, each time with wonderful results. I'll faithfully reproduce the exact recipe here -noting that I substituted fresh ground white pepper with fresh ground black pepper. One thing I won't substitute is a free range chicken - it is well worth paying a bit more for all that extra juicy, ethical  goodness.

Roast Chicken with sauce chasseur
from "Guillaume: Food for Friends" by Guillaume Brahimi


3 large bay leaves
1/2 bunch thyme
1 head of garlic (cut in half, across the middle)
1 x 1.6kg free range chicken (Brahimi recommends Barossa Valley Poultry here, but I think that any brand free range chicken will do)
sea salt and fresh ground white pepper
50ml olive oil

Sauce Chasseur

25g unsalted butter
6 Swiss brown mushrooms, stalks removed, sliced
1 golden shallot, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, peeled, seeded and diced (yes, it is totally worth the extra step here, I promise you)
75 ml dry white wine
175 ml chicken stock/jus
1 small sprig tarragon, leaves only
fresh ground white pepper


Firstly, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius, or 200 fan forced
1. wash your chicken, and place a bay leaf, half the thyme and one half of the garlic in the cavity. Season with salt and pepper
2. tuck the wings and legs in and tie with kitchen twine
3. In a large fry-pan, heat the oil, then brown the chicken on all sides at medium heat
4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting tray (with rack) and add the remaining herbs and garlic to the tray under the chicken
5. Roast for approximately 55 minutes (until juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh)
6. Remove from the oven, and rest the chicken before serving

Whilst resting the chicken, prepare the sauce chasseur as follows

1. melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat, adding the mushroom and cook for 3 minutes
2. Add the shallot and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then stir through the tomato
3. Pour in the wine to de-glaze and cook until the wine is reduced by half
4. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by a third
5. Remove from heat and stir though tarragon and pepper to taste
6. Before serving, pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with roasted vegetables, (or as Guillaume suggests, paris mash or gratin dauphinois)

If you liked this, you might like:
Roast Duck!

What to do with leftovers?
Chicken Udon noodle soup:

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