The French Aren’t Chicken

· But they know how to make a superb one! ·

May 9, 2017 6 Comments

Look. This is possibly the most I have ever researched a recipe. Ever. It is for that reason that I am certain that this dish will be the best chicken you have ever made. Ever.


Near our old apartment in the 15th there was a butcher that sold rotisserie chicken. Every day we would get off the metro, squeeze our way out of a cramped metro carriage only to be hit with the putrid smell of urine that clouds the station. Then we would run down the steps, push through the metal barriers to cross the road.

That’s when you got the faintest hint. As you cross the road the smell becomes stronger and in the distance you begin to see the chickens. Golden and crisp. Turning endlessly over beautifully glistening ย potatoes. Droplets of juice falling over the turning chickens, cascading down only to land on the potatoes below.


This shop was half way between home and the metro. It was torture. JB would come home desperate for chicken. One day I gave in. I surprised him with my first ever roast chicken.


First of all, it’s a lot easier to do than I originally thought. Secondly, the smell that fills your home as that chicken cooks is aggressively delicious. Finally, you’re guaranteed sandwiches and soup the day after. All this time, I had been too scared to make a dry chicken I had been missing out on the worlds most obvious fact. Making roast chicken at home is AWESOME.

So the roast chicken became part of my food rotation. Food rotation refers to the few dishes I cook over and over again. Roast chicken, ceviche, sugar cookies, lavender truffles, smashed avocado, mac n cheese etc.



When I decided to start writing recipes I knew this needed to be included and in what better section than France? After all it’s embodies what a French dish should be, simple but prepared in such a way that even the most humble ingredient can make you sing.ย So I set out to find the perfect chicken recipe. I read hundreds of recipes and technical skills sections in cookbooks. I watched videos and finally I got to cooking. Each week I would adjust something. Finally I ended up with this one. It’s juicy, tender, flavoursome and just oh so good.

It may seem like a lot of effort but it is worth every minute of waiting. I don’t know what else to say so here it is.




  • Prep Time: 7h 12m
  • Cook Time: 1h 10m


For Brine

  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 Onion, cut in wedges

For Chicken

  • 1 Chicken
  • 1/2 Lemon, thinly sliced
  • Tarragon, to taste
  • Small Potatoes, washed
  • 2 Garlic heads
  • Tarragon leaves
  • 1 onion, diced and caramelized
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For Sauce

  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Butter


For Brine

  1. Boil the water for the brine and mix all of the ingredients.
  2. Once everything is combined, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature.
  3. If you put a raw bird in warm water you risk a bacteria haven.
  4. Place bird in brine mixture and top off with water until bird is covered.
  5. Leave the bird completely covered for between 6-12 hours.

For Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 220.
  2. Rinse the bird all over and then dry carefully with a paper towel.
  3. While rinsing be sure to loosen the skin around the chicken.
  4. The dryer you manage to get it the crispier the skin will be.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; rub inside, out and under the skin.
  6. Now you can place the thinnest slices of lemon underneath the skin with some fresh tarragon.
  7. Place a small knob of butter with lemon slices and herbs inside the bird.
  8. Place the herbs and spices into the roasting tin with a healthy dose of olive oil.
  9. Rub the potatoes and garlic in the mixture and top with the chicken. Ten minutes later lower the temperature to 190. Cook chicken until temperature by thigh joint is 140.

For Sauce

  1. Remove chicken from the roasting pan and place on serving dish with potatoes and garlic.
  2. Add the lemon juice, butter and tarragon to the roasting juices.
  3. Reserve and pour into a dish.

For the beautiful chicken photo at the top of the page check out Found Animal Foundation on Flickr.



  1. ashley

    May 10, 2017

    this sounds so delicious! I will have to try this!

    • sian.hobbs@hotmail.com

      May 10, 2017

      YAY! Do it! Its only been a few days since I made it but it is so delicious and EASY to make I think I’m going to make it again tomorrow for dinner.

  2. lcondray

    May 10, 2017

    Oh wow! This sounds simply divine! I definitely will have to try this! Thanks for sharing!

    • sian.hobbs@hotmail.com

      May 11, 2017

      My pleasure! Let me know how it goes for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. justaddgigi

    May 12, 2017

    This looks delicious and now I’m so hungry now!

    • sian.hobbs@hotmail.com

      May 15, 2017

      That’s what I want to hear! ๐Ÿ˜€

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