Cree LeFavour’s Poulet: More Than 50 Remarkable Meals that Exalt the Honest Chicken was one of my Christmas gift card book purchases, and it is honestly one of the most creatively designed cookbooks I own: beautiful photos, fun but clean and easy-to-read fonts, a simple but attractive color scheme and an intuitive organization.
The meals are broken into chapters by region and flavor: American Chicken, Bistro Chicken, Latin Chicken, East Asian Chicken, South Asian Chicken, and Middle Eastern/African Chicken. I rarely say this, but I anticipate cooking my way through this cookbook over time, because every recipe looks appetizing.
And note the use of the word “meals” instead of “recipes.” Each chicken recipe is paired with at least 2 recipes for sauces or sides that pair well with that particular poultry dish (unless the poultry dish is a meal in and of itself, like the Sichuan Chicken Hot Pot), making it easy for you to plan ahead. And you know I’m all about planning ahead.
Of particular interest at the moment? Chicken-Fennel Meatballs on Angel Hair with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Endive-Apple Salad from the American chapter. One-Pot Coconut Chicken over Jasmine Rice from the East Asian chapter. And Roadside Chicken Tacos with Black Bean-Quinoa Salad and Fresh Corn Relish from the Latin chapter (pictured, right).
Last week, I started simple: a roasted whole chicken, cooked at a much higher temperature than I usually use, upon the suggestion of Poulet. The result was a perfectly browned chicken with a crispy, salty skin (and done in a much shorter time!). I paired it with a mango-tangerine balsamic reduction, inspired by the mango white balsamic vinegar I picked up while in New York City last weekend. For the record, said reduction also makes a great salad dressing.
Adapted from Poulet by Cree LeFavour
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup mango white balsamic vinegar (plain white balsamic or even white wine vinegar would work as well)
- Juice of 2 tangerines (about 1/2 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy oven-safe pan.
- Divide the butter in half. Gently slide half the butter under the skin, spreading it between the skin of the breast and the thighs. Rub the remaining butter over the outside of the skin.
- Sprinkle the breasts and thighs with the salt and top with a handful of the thyme.
- Roast at 450F for 40 minutes, then insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the temperature reads 175F, the chicken is done. If not, return the chicken to the oven and test every 5-10 minutes until the temperature of the thigh does read 175F.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
- When the chicken has been in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, prepare the balsamic reduction. Whisk the balsamic and juice together in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring the juice to a simmer and allow it to bubble until it is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the reduction to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving over the carved chicken.
Make Ahead and Storage
Save the bones of the chicken for making stock.