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French Roast Chicken

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“Julia Child's recipe from 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking.' This makes a wonderful, moist, juicy bird. I think it's the turning technique while roasting that does it. It may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't much more than roasting a bird any other way. The sauce reduction is a LOT easier than any gravy, and is out of this world! In the book, she suggests serving this with green beans or peas (buttered, of course! this IS French cooking!) and sauted, roasted, fried, or souffleed potatoes, or potato crepes. I have also posted the recipe for brown chicken stock, which can quite easily be simmering away as you cook the bird (you don't need the stock until the very end). Using the homemade stock makes a huge difference in the flavour, but it can be substituted, I suppose.”
1hr 21mins
1 bird

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and then smear in 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  3. Truss and dry the chicken, and rub the skin with the other half of the butter.
  4. Baste: Melt butter in a small saucepan with cooking oil.
  5. Leave on stovetop with a basting brush for later use.
  6. Back to the chicken: Place the chicken, breast side up, in a shallow small roasting pan.
  7. Scatter the veggies around it, and set it on the rack in the preheated oven.
  8. Allow the chicken to brown slightly for 15 minutes, turning on the left side after 5 minutes, then onto the right side for the last 5 minutes.
  9. Baste with butter quickly after each turn so that the oven does not lose a lot of heat.
  10. Reduce heat to 350.
  11. Leave chicken on its side, baste every 8 to 10 minutes, using the butter in the bottom of the roasting pan once you have used up all of the baste in your bowl.
  12. Watch and adjust oven heat so that the chicken is noisy, but fat is not burning.
  13. Halfway through estimated roasting time (which is 70-80 minutes; so after about 35 minutes), salt the chicken and turn it onto its other side.
  14. Continue to baste regularly.
  15. 15 minutes before end of estimated roasting time, salt again and flip chicken breast side up.
  16. Continue to baste regularly.
  17. Chicken will be done when drumstick moves easily in socket and juices run a clear yellow.
  18. Let sit on a platter 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
  19. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan.
  20. Stir in shallot or onion and cook slowly for 1 minute.
  21. Add stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up bits that are stuck in the pan witha wooden spoon.
  22. reduce to about 1/2 cup.
  23. Season with salt and pepper.
  24. Off heat just before serving, swirl in the last 1 to 2 tablespoons butter by bits until it is absorbed.
  25. Pour a spoon of the sauce onto the chicken, then pour the rest into a gravy boat and serve with the chicken.

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