ffwd – m. jacques’ armagnac chicken

This week’s recipe was incredibly easy, but also incredibly good.

The simplest of ingredients – things that you’d likely have on hand – a chicken (!), carrots, onions, potatoes, some herbs (I only had rosemary fresh) and the secret ingredient… armagnac. Armagnac is a spirit very similar to cognac, brandy or calvados – each have their own subtle character, in this case, it’s a bit of sultry sweetness reminicent of prunes. Any of these would work here, with similar results. The calvados would add a hint of apple. But in this case, I decided that I should make the effort to find the armagnac. Dorie did warn us that it was expensive – but of course, I forgot that part until I saw the $41 price tag. Oh well – in for a penny…

The vegetables are cut up, and then tossed in a bit of oil on the stove over medium heat for a few moments (not to cook them, just to warm them),

and then the salt & pepper seasoned bird is nestled on top. Finally, the armagnac is poured in and heated just a little (this all smells divine) before the pot is covered tightly and placed in the oven to bake for about an hour or so.

My chicken was a little larger than the 3.5 pounds suggested, so I probably added about 15 minutes to the whole time.

Once the time is up, the chicken comes out. The only thing about this method of cooking, is that it doesn’t create a nice crisp skin. The up-side is that there’s no temptation to eat it!

Once the chicken is removed, what remains is some lovely sauce and vegetables. Dorie suggests adding water to this and then boiling. I felt like I had plenty without the water, so I just fished out the herb stems, seasoned and let it go at that. What I should have done, is placed all of the liquid in one of those handy cups that allows you to separate the fat from the juice that you’d like to keep.

I served this with the cauliflower gratin recipe from a couple of weeks ago – substituting a combination of cauliflower and broccoli.

This method produced some flavorful and juicy chicken, cooked perfectly. The subtle complexity added by the armagnac was fantastic! I could definitely see this as a go-to recipe for its simplicity and terrific results. I could also envision a bit of a different take – for one, I was sorry I didn’t have any prunes on hand, because I think they would have been lovely in the dish. But switching the armagac for calvados and throwing in some apples – maybe even changing out the white potatoes for sweet potatoes – and not forgetting the thyme… this was definitely a great method, and one we really enjoyed.

16 thoughts on “ffwd – m. jacques’ armagnac chicken

  1. Wow, you made a lovely dinner…lots of good stuff. I was reading along and then came to the part about not being tempted to eat the skin and I cracked up…so funny. For sure, that not “done” looking skin was not appetizing at all. But this meal is easy and flavorful and I like the cooking method, so, like you, I’ll not be tempted by the skin.

  2. Gotta say that I am almost embarrassed at how much I love the crispy skin of a roasted chicken- it even sounds gross to me but when I see that stuff all done up (esp when spices have been added to the top…) I am ALL in. I am also officially shutting up about complaining that my organic bird cost almost $13….did not realize how much the real Armagnac cost 🙂 Great post ~

    1. It’s not that I don’t Like that fabulous crispy skin… more that it was nice to not be tempted! :). I am totally with you, perfectly crisped skin with some lovely spices – mmmmm!

      Sent from my iPad

  3. We loved this, too. I wish we’d left out the extra water – it didn’t need it. We’ll definitely be making ti again! Once the skin was removed, we didn’t miss the browning. Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Great pictures, Candy! I love how you combined broccoli and cauliflower in the gratin. I had a similar broccoli casserole at a barbecue restaurant in Boston once, and I liked it as much or even more than the short rib I ordered.

  5. Good point Candy; we were NOT tempted to eat the skin, it was kind of gross actually:) That can be a good thing. I’m sure the cauliflower gratin was a great addition!

  6. Dorie says that a bottle of Armagnac can last forever, so I think that was a good investment, Candy. At least you got to try the recipe with the real thing and you know that you can put it on the shelf and it will be there when you make this again. What a lovely dinner with both the Armagnac chicken and the cauliflower gratin!

  7. We removed the skin (didn’t want everyone to see the chicken’s shame…), but I do love some crispy skin 🙂
    You are a trooper for going out and getting the Armagnac…

  8. Looks delicious! Thanks for the tip about pouring off the fat. I’m going to make this tonight. I just can’t decide if I want to invest in the booze. Leave it to Dorie to call out the ONE bottle of booze I don’t have in my cabinet.

  9. Funny, my chicken didn’t have any excess fat to drain off. I guess each bird is unique. I added the prunes, and they added a lovely sweetness. I didn’t use the Armagnac, though, just (very) cheap brandy that I use for Christmas cookies. I’ll definitely make this again.

  10. I would love to try this with armagnac some time. Too bad we can’t all go in together to share a bottle! Glad you enjoyed this easy and delicious meal. I agree with you about the skin – I really have a hard time controlling myself when it’s nice and crispy.

  11. I love the amount of freedom this recipe gives also! I’m going to be adding all sorts of veggies that are seasonal the next time I make this, or just using what I have for a quick weeknight meal!

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