Thank You Julia: Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

“A well-roasted chicken is the mark of a fine cook. Even among professionals, it is a source of pride to present a shapely chicken, with beautifully colored skin and perfectly done meat, juicy and tender. There is nothing technically difficult about roasting a chicken but there are many approaches to take…for serving either of our chickens, we suggest a delicious pan sauce.” from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

The oven is preheated to 425°F. The chicken is rinsed thoroughly with hot water and dried with paper towels. Fat lumps are removed from the cavity. The small bony protrusions “nubbins” are removed from the wing-tip joints.

Carving is made easier when the wishbone is removed. This is done by lifting the neck skin and inserting a thin sharp knife into each end of the breast and slicing diagonally along each side of the wishbone.

The finger and thumb are used to loosen the bone, pry it out at the top, pull down, wriggling it out.

“A cooking process such as roasting a chicken is inexact – there is no one way that is the right way,” writes Julia. “Just start with a good chicken and pay attention to how you cook it.”

Voilà! The wishbone is removed!


“Not everything I do with my roast chicken is necessarily scientific,” she says. “For instance I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it, and more important, I like to give it.”

Season the cavity with salt and pepper, stuff it with 4 sprigs of fresh tarragon and 4 thick slices of lemon. Give the lemon a little squeeze as they are inserted. Massage softened butter over the entire chicken skin and salt generously. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken. “I learned the butter massage when I started cooking for the first time in France and would never give it up.”

The wings were folded up against the breast and the drumsticks tied together with twine. After roasting for 15 minutes, the heat is lowered to 350°F. The chicken is repeatedly basted with accumulated juices. Rough chopped carrots and onions are added after 30 minutes more. (We got nice caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan but had to add some chicken stock to the pan to prevent burning). The chicken is done when the juices run clear. Pierce the breast with the tines of a carving fork, press to bring the juices up, there should be no traces of pink. After about 1 1/2 hours the chicken was removed to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.
A Natural Sauce from the Roasting Pan

The pan can be tilted to accumulate the juices and fat in one corner, then spoon off the fat.
Julia shares, “Another aspect of roasting that is very important to me – also a lesson from my early years in France – is making the deglazing sauce from the drippings and brown bits in the roasting pan. These brown bits are the precious, caramelized natural juices, their flavor intensified and concentrated by the process of roasting and basting. When you turn these bits into a ‘deglazing’ sauce, you are preserving and essence of pure delicious chicken. There is nothing better to serve with your roast.”

Or do as we did, pouring everything into a gravy separator, then pouring the juices back into the pan, which worked great for removing the vegetables and much of the fat.

The pan is placed over two medium heat burners, 2 T. minced shallots are added to the pan, stirring briefly. Then 1/3 c. of dry white wine and 2/3 c. chicken stock are added, raise the heat to high, and cook to get the sauce to the right consistency, scraping up all the glazed bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning. Strain to remove bits, add butter for a richer finish (we skipped the butter and found the sauce delightfully rich and flavorful without it).
Lauren carves the bird: Remove the trussing strings and lay the chicken on its side. Cut the skin all around the thigh and leg. Lift the leg and pull away. The thigh will break off at the hip joint. Separate the drumstick from the thigh. Then holding the fork in the breast, cut through the should joint under the wing. Slice through to the outer part of the breast. Remove the breast meat with the wing attached.
Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

Pour the sauce onto a warm platter.
Top with the carved chicken.
Recipe from:
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Published by Random House 1999

A well-roasted chicken and delicious sauce indeed!
Merci Beaucoup Julia!
Once again, in honor of Julia’s birthday, August 15th, Lisa of Champaign Taste blog is hosting the Fourth Annual Julia Child Birthday Celebration. Please join us in celebrating Julia, details here.
“Toujours Bon Appétit!”

A Tribute to Julia Child: The Perfect Lunch

Julia’s First Meal in France
with Husband, Paul Child
(a re-creation)

We rolled to a stop in La Place du Vieux Marché,
the square where Joan of Arc had met her fiery fate.
There the Guide Michelin directed us to
Restaurant La Couronne.

Rouen is a 2000 year old city
located in Normandy
on the Seine River
not too far from the English Channel.
Rouen, France
November 1948


“The waiter is telling them about the chicken they ordered,” Paul whispered, “How it was raised, how it will be cooked, what side dishes they can have with it, and which wines would go best.”
“Wine?” exclaimed Julia, “at lunch?”

“We began our lunch with oysters on the half shell.”
“Rouen is famous for its duck dishes, but after consulting the waiter Paul had decided to order Sole Meunière…perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley on top.”

“Then came the salade verte with a slightly acidic vinaigrette.”

“Along with our meal, we happily downed a whole bottle of Pouilly-Fumé, a wonderfully crisp white wine from the Loire region.  Another revelation!”

“We followed our meal with a leisurely dessert of fromage…”


“Paul and I floated out the door into the brilliant sunshine and cool air. Our first lunch together in France had been absolute perfection. It was the most exciting meal of my life.”
This is as she describes her meal to us in My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.
To re-create the delicious Sole Meunière:
Season the fresh Petrale Sole, then dip it in a beaten egg. Dredge in flour and shake off the excess. Sauté in a half butter/half olive oil mixture until light brown. Make the sauce in another pan; brown the butter, finish with lemon juice and chopped parsley. Pour sauce on the platter, then top with the fish. Garnish with lemons and parsley.
(original post 8.14.2007)

La Seine
TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs
The month of August is Julia Child Month here at Taste With The Eyes. I will be resurrecting some prior Julia related posts as well as cooking some new Julia inspired dishes. And for the fourth year in a row, Lisa at Champaign Taste blog is holding her fabulous annual Julia Child Event to celebrate Julia’s birthday on August 15. Come join us in celebrating our heroine, go here for details!
Toujours Bon Appétit!

French Bistro Lunch, Happy Bastille Day!

Allard Restaurant has been serving traditional old-time bistro fare on the Left Bank since the 1930’s. Once, one of the greatest gourmet restaurants in Paris, the menu doesn’t change, except for daily specials and it is as good ever. On our trip to Paris, we thoroughly enjoyed eating at some of the modern cutting-edge restaurants, but it was also a treat to dine on the classic bistro foods including escargots, frisée lardons salad, filet de beouf, gratin dauphinois, duck with olives, and roasted Bresse chicken with potatoes at Allard. The place is lively, authentic, well-worn and legendary! The old-fashioned décor, especially the zinc bar once a gathering spot for celebrities, is especially charming.

Bastille Day is the French national holiday, celebrated on July 14th. It is called Fête Nationale in official parlance, or more commonly le quatorze juillet. It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.

Alas, no room for cheese or dessert, for dinner will be at Pierre Gagnaire.

Owner and pooch leave Allard quite satisfied…
Happy Bastille Day!

V – Le Cinq

Overlooking the hotel’s marble courtyard and garden, Le Cinq restaurant is tastefully fine and luxurious, dressed in grey and gold. The tablecloths, china and silver were all created specifically for this legendary hotel built in 1928.
The menu draws upon classic French culinary techniques and also embraces newer, lighter cooking styles, incorporating the freshest regional ingredients.

Welcome to Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris! Come walk with us as we arrive at Le Galerie.

Our perfect, intuitive service began when we were led, not to our table, but to sit and relax on couches and comfy chairs in the reception area. Champagne started to flow and little cloth baskets of fried calamari and shrimp appeared. Before the baskets were empty, another would arrive, so we only nibbled on the morsels when hot.

Don, and Kristy with her personalized menu, “Happy Birthday Kristy”

Les Fleurs

One can smell flowers upon entering the hotel. The bold floral statements set against classic architecture create a look that is the signature of Four Seasons Hotel George V Artistic Director, Jeffrey Leatham.

Jeff Leatham dresses the grande dame of avenue George V in an abundance of fresh blooms. Nine thousand are shipped in from the Netherlands each week!


Table d’hôte
After enjoying our Champagne, we are escorted to our table for eight which is separated from the main restaurant room by an amazing arrangement of Jeff Leatham’s flowers. On the table, the hydrangea centerpieces with scattered white rose petals were breathtaking.

The china is gorgeous. The woman with angel cameo in the center of the platter mirrors the large medallions on the walls of the elegant dining room.

les vins

Champagne Diebolt Vallois Blanc de Blanc
Puligny Montrachet 2006 Domaine Carillon
Vosne-Romanée 2006 Domaine David Duband
Riesling Lieser, Niederberg Helden Spatlese 2004, Weingut Schloss Lieser
morilles et asperges d’Argenteuil
Morel mushrooms and white asparagus,
Creamy risotto Acquerello with Méréville watercress,
Gravy juice / St Yrieix bacon, delicate licorice

foie gras de canard des Landes
Fresh duck foie gras from the Landes region,
roasted with black Sarawak pepper, braised rhubarb
Gariguette strawberries with elderberry juice

poularde de Bresse
Farm hen from the Bresse region “Excellence Miéral”
Served in a casserole dish with verbena / candied lemon baby carrots
With fresh curcuma / slow simmered sorrel

salades de saison mélangées
Seasonal green salad with truffled vinaigrette

sélection de nos Maîtres fromagers

Pierre Sauvager and his delightfully convivial team provided the most impeccable, flawless service. Merci beaucoup Pierre!
Under the direction of:
Eric Briffard, Chef des Cuisines
Thierry Hamon, Chef Sommelier
Eric Beaumard, Directeur de Restaurant
les desserts

le gâteau d’anniversaire

Joyeux anniversaire dear Kristy!
le chariot de desserts


Dessert heaven began with a red fruit Vacherin with tangy lemon meringue, and the wild strawberries in crystallized verbena candied rhubarb, a unique intriguing basil verrine, and many more! Next came Kristy’s birthday cake, a chocolate napoleon George V style. We all agreed that this was the most extraordinary birthday cake. After that, the dessert cart arrived, with a dizzying assortment of small sweet bites, and a necessary espresso.
un petit cadeau
Additionally, we were each given a box of candies to take with us. I brought mine home with me, and reminisced about the most exquisite dining experience ever while I savored these candies days later in Los Angeles. I will not soon forget the powerful aroma of strawberries wafting from the foie gras course, nor the heady bouquet of truffles emanating from what looked to be a simple green salad, and was anything but. This entire meal was masterful…
A most sincere and heartfelt thank you to Don, le frère le plus généreux au monde, the most generous brother in the world, for hosting this grand luxe experience. And to my dear sister-in-law, I’m so glad I could join you in Paris to help celebrate your 40th! Love you both.

une légende parisienne


Kir Royale et Macarons

I am the proud owner of some absolutely darling watercolor paintings by very talented artist, Carol Gillott. You can visit her at Paris Breakfasts blog, she paints Paris dreams! A couple of my treasured original paintings are impressions of Ladurée, so of course on our trip to Paris last week, we had to stop in.  Trouble is, however, this was not really a tea drinking crowd.

My brother Don and his best friend Jack

Maybe next trip…

Imagine our delight that late Monday morning as we walked into Ladurée to find Le Bar! A toast to Kristy’s 40th birthday with Kir Royale!

Cell phones were ringing. “Meet us at Le Bar at Ladurée!” Within the hour all 8 members of our party were at Le Bar. The atmosphere is so very fabulous and fun, and the bartenders could not have been more engaging.

What vacations are all about!  Dessert and Champagne to start the day. This is the famous Ispahan Verrine with flavors of raspberry, lychee, and rose.

Oh you must try the Chocolate Verrine too!

Of course we had to do a little shopping. Ladurée’s mascot looks a lot like my Wilson, don’t you think?

Wilson The One-Eyed Boston Terrier
(visit some of his adventures here)

Macaron Heaven

Le Petit Déjeuner

On the day of our departure Susan and I had a later flight, so we returned to Ladurée for breakfast. My omelette a la truffe noire…stuffed with shaved black truffles.

The most perfect rolls and jauntiest wrapped butter to accompany le omelette

And dreamy coffee service…

Breakfast: simple and oh so sublime.

75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Let’s meet again at Ladurée!

Side note: I flew to Paris on Air France. My thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of those who flew on Flight 447. May those travelers Rest In Peace.