Chicken in the raw...

So I bought a whole chicken from farmers' market and tested out a new recipe (new to me anyway): French Chicken in a Pot from Cook's Illustrated (see same recipe from America's Test Kitchen).

Basically, you prepare the chicken by first cleaning it (I like to disinfect it by rubbing the inside with 1/2 lemon), then seasoning it (rub garlic cloves and thyme inside the chicken cavity, leaving the cloves and fresh herbs in there with the 1/2 lemon) and then patting the skin dry.

Brown up that chicken in a crock pot on the stove, starting with the breast side down. Throw in 4 more cloves of whole garlic, one chopped celery stalk, once chopped onion, and one bay leaf. Cook that down and flip the chicken once browned (use a wooden spoon to flip).

Cooked chicken after ~1.5 hours in the oven. Set aside to rest for 20 min. before carving up.

Now, brown the backside. Browning is key because it caramelizes the chicken and adds flavor. Just keep it on medium/medium low so it doesn't burn (like I did to mine a little bit). Five to seven minutes and then comes the easy part!

Next,  cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the crock pot lid (to seal in the steam) and put the covered bird in a pre-heated 250 degree oven, breast-side up, for 1.5 hours or so.

The breast meat should be 160 degrees and the dark meat should be 175 degrees. (Don't take it out too early or the thigh meat won't be cooked enough and you'll have to cook it again, like I did.)

A digital meat thermometer is a big help here. Set the alarm to 175 degrees and put the thermometer in the thigh (but don't touch the bone). Alarm goes off: take out the chicken.

Don't toss those good bits in the crock pot! Strain 'em and squeeze out all those good juices. 

Simmering strained sauce

Finally, take out the chicken, let it rest for 20 minutes and strain all those good leftovers from the pot (squeezing out the juices from the cooked veggies)! Cook down the sauce for a few minutes until it is about 1/2 its original size, skim off the fat, and serve over your cut up chicken.

The garlic, thyme, and hint of lemon infuses the chicken and it really comes out superb!

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