Poulet rôti épicé

roast chicken 2

Roast chicken with spices

This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s quick and simple, and a crowd pleaser. For tips on how to carve the chicken, see below.

1 chicken, preferably free-range or organic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. powdered cumin
1/4 tsp. powdered cinnamon
1 branch fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (425 F, 220 C).

Check the chicken and remove any extra fat or feathers. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the cumin and cinnamon to make a sauce. Using a brush, a spoon or – my preference – your hands, coat the chicken all over with the spice mixture. If there is any extra, you can put it inside the cavity. Insert the branch of thyme into the cavity.

Place the chicken in an oiled roasting dish, preferably ceramic, and roast in the oven for about an hour. The roasting time will depend on the size of your chicken. After about 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to gas mark 6 (400 F, 205 C). Baste the chicken once or twice while it’s cooking, using a soup spoon or a baster.

After about 50 minutes, test to see whether the chicken is done by inserting a fork into the thigh. If the juices run clear, it is done. If not, let it cook another 10 minutes and test again.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a carving board and let it sit for a few moments. While it is resting, stir the pan juices, mixing the spices with the drippings to make a rich and homogenous sauce. Now carve your chicken, arrange it on a serving platter and spoon on the sauce. Season with salt and pepper only after carving. Serves 4-6.

roast chicken 4There are many ways to carve a chicken. I’ve been most successful with the following method:

Sharpen a good strong kitchen knife. First remove the two legs — you can easily find the joint in a well-roasted chicken by pulling the leg slightly away from the body, using a fork and your carving knife. Now separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Next remove the two wings, cutting down a bit above the joint so that a little of the white meat remains attached. Finally slice off the breast meat and cut each breast in half. If all goes well, you will have 10 pieces.

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4 Responses to Poulet rôti épicé

  1. Hi Meg, Right this minute my husband and I are eating the poulet fermier jaune I picked up at the market this afternoon and roasted according to your recipe. It is delicious! I had a nice big sweet potato that I sliced and layered in a casserole with butter and nutmeg and cooked along with the chicken. The marchand de vin recommended a Viré Clessé 2014 burgundy to accompany. Thank you for your great recipes. À votre santé

  2. Swazi says:

    Hi Meg,

    I am going to cook this for 6 people tomorrow night, 4 of them restaurateurs from St. Thomas. SO, should I do 2 chickens or 1? And andy side dish recommendations. xx Swazi

    • Meg says:

      Over here in France, one large free-range chicken is seen as enough for 6 or even 8 people. But that presumes that it will follow a first course. If you want to be sure of having enough, you could make 2 chickens — in any event, the leftovers are delicious. As for sides, a vegetable, a grain. Maybe something local — a sweet potato or plantain purée, perhaps, with a salad along side — or you could go North African (where the cumin/cinnamon mixture originates) and serve the chicken with spicy carrots and couscous on the side. Bon appetit!

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