French Fridays with Dorie: M. Jacques’ Armagnac Chicken

This may be my only other Dorie recipe for the month since several of the recipes are baked goods. This chicken dish is a winner. D declared it the best Dorie recipe so far and I loved the ease with which it could be made: an oven roasted whole chicken, surrounded by three root vegetables and some aromatics, and flavored with spirits – in this case with Cognac not the Armagnac called for in the recipe. You may want to skip my rant about looking for Armagnac below (and there is a link to a site with the recipe for readers who hang in with me).

Those of you who live in parts of the country with odd liquor laws, including places where the state is in charge of liquor sales, will share my pain. North Carolina, which I love dearly for its beautiful landscapes, its warm weather, its friendly people and most of all because it has become home to me, is one of these places. You can’t buy liquor on Sundays. Ok I sort of get that, this is the Bible belt and all. And folks, you can plan ahead. You must buy liquor at state-run, county Alcohol Board of Control operated, sales sites (hence the ABC name). Hum, ok. Well I guess someone maybe should keep an eye on where liquor stores operate, the kind of advertising they use, and make sure some of the sales are going to alcohol prevention and treatment programs, right? But isn’t that what my alcohol sales taxes are paying for? Isn’t that what state laws and county ordinances are there to control? Oh, and the final indignity, you can pretty much only buy what the state deems “sellable” and “appropriate,” despite what market might exist for other liquors.  So that means you can find one brand of Calvados (however it took me searching three ABC stores to find one that sells it), one kind of Pisco, one kind of Maraschino, one kind of elderflower liquor (that one surprised me – but I guess its become a popular ingredient of late, you get my drift).  Rye has also become more popular, so I can now find 3 types of rye – none of which are made by small batch rye producers in neighboring states. Forget trying to find interesting liquors from most European countries, including the somewhat pricier Armagnac. Though of course you can find about 40 kinds of vodka, domestic and imported. A lot of it makes no sense.  I’ve had offers from friends and even strangers to pick up liquors for me in other states, and I’m still holding on to a few things I picked up in Wisconsin on my last driving trip. The bottom line is that on my next trip to D.C. I need to stock up on a few things and hand my tax money over to them. Rant done. You can now continue to the part where I talk about food.

The Cognac, onions and herbs gave the cooking chicken a wonderful scent, very homey and comforting. And mouth watering. The cooked chicken came out juicy, with hints of heat from the white pepper. The juices from the chicken combined perfectly with the Cognac, rosemary, thyme and onion to form a balanced sauce that enhanced the flavors of the meat and roasted vegetables. As always, I made a few adjustments to the ingredients which required some adjustments to the recipe. Notes are below.

  • No trussing. Trussing will help to keep the chicken in one piece as you remove it from the pot for serving. With just the two of us eating it, we cut apart the chicken in the pot and served it from there.
  • Onion, onions, onions…I cut back to one very large onion. To me, it was the perfect amount.
  • No potatoes. I used diakon radish instead, one of my favorite potato substitutes. Diakon has many colors and forms, but I used the classic long white version, about half of one, peeled and cut lengthwise and then in about 10 half moons.
  • Diakon is more watery than potatoes. After 45 minutes of cooking, I removed the lid of the pot and continued to cook the chicken at 450 for 15 minutes to allow some of the liquid in the pot to evaporate.  This also allowed the chicken to brown, which with all the  extra water/steam it would not have done otherwise.
  • No additional water. The diakon added enough extra moisture for the dish.  Rather than remove the chicken and vegetables, and then the visible fat, add some water and then reduce the watered down sauce, I simply left the reduced jus from the baking, including the fat, as the final sauce. It was quite good; some of the fat is absorbed by the diakon and the remainder for us is a great part of the flavor of the dish.

French Fridays with Dorie members are not printing the recipes but you can find M. Jacques’ Armagnac Chicken in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette along with a recipe for Tomatoes Provencal. You can see how the rest of the Doristas did with this dish by heading over to the French Fridays page.

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About Tasty Mayhem

Love to eat, cook, write. Try to think of witty things to say about the world but my thoughts are consumed by food. Mostly.
This entry was posted in French Fridays with Dorie, Low/er Carb, Main Dish, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: M. Jacques’ Armagnac Chicken

  1. Jill says:

    This looks like a great winter meal. Although I can’t seem to get with it to make FFwD recipes with the group, I love seeing them and marking the good-looking ones in my book to make in the future.

    I knew you had “interesting” liquor laws down there, but didn’t realize that you didn’t have access to the same variety of alcohol. I think we had a change for the better in my neck of the woods, because both grocery stores I shop at now allow you to take alcohol through the store and pay for it with the rest of your groceries. So convenient! Sorry to rub it in though.

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    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      Its bizarre. I took much for granted living in a state where for the most part, the free-market sets the rules about liquor sales (Showing a valid ID and no sales after midnight seems more than reasonable.) I get that some communities would like to make sure there are fewer liquor stores – which to me should be something that a local community sets rules/laws and issues licences on. But determining which liquor to sell? The only change that NC made recently that I sort of agree with was that it decided to stop selling very high proof grain alcohol (like Everclear type products) because the study it did found that the only sales were near college campuses; its how they continue to justify the current system. I’m not sure what harm Armangac is doing, other than being too obscure (really?) to justify sales. LOL.

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  2. Adriana says:

    Daikon radishes seem a very interesting substitute for the potatoes. I’ve only bought it once at the farmers market and always had it raw in salads. I know now what else to do with them! I didn’t truss my chicken either – not that it would have mattered since it all melted into lovely chicken mush in the end.

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  3. I haven’t tried daikon radishes but that sounds interesting. I live in Oklahoma and we have lots of state control regarding liquor but NC might beat us! My chicken was very pale so removing the lid for the last 15 minutes would be a good idea.

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  4. Tricia S. says:

    Interesting to learn about the NC booze issues 🙂 I thought my state of PA was the most aggravating. I have a funny story which will probably make Nana and I look like lushes…but we used to live in NY and NJ, so were spoiled with variety and such in our liquor stores. PA has state run stores…called the “State Store” 🙂 We heard stories about how DE had amazing liquor stores. A friend from work kept telling me about this one – Total Wine and More…in Wilmington. It is touted as America’s wine superstore so I loaded up Nana and my Dad. We thought we had gone to heaven in the amazing variety. It was truly like a Home Depot for alcohol – but with very high end stuff too. For years we had exchanged special bottles of after dinner drinks as our Christmas gifts, with the idea that we would all share them together. Anyway, we loaded up my mini van for the holidays and went home. My mini van with PA plates. When I told folks at work they were horrified and told me I was lucky I did not get ticketed or whatever for transporting over the state line. Evidently it was such an issue that the store used to have unmarked cars in the parking lot looking for out of state licenses. Phew. Caught a break. Now that chicken…:) Nana loved it and I agree it was moist but I like more “crisp” so will tweak if I revisit this again. But still had a blast making it…

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    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      Tricia – this made me laugh. I’m now imagining the NC state police stopping me at the border. I went to a NASCAR event last night and saw an old “moonshiner” car with the trunk knocked out to fit more bottles. Made me think of you heading into DE with your minivan. Law breaker! LOL. We have Total Wine here – but of course they can only sell wine and beer. Ordered our wedding beverages there.

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  5. Ah, your post harkens fond memories of my undergrad years at Duke! An ABC run was always mandatory sometime on Saturday in case the stockpile of liquor managed to get too low that evening, which usually wasn’t a problem, but there were rare occasions that it happened! I think your chicken turned out fantastic.

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    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      Uh oh. Blue Devils. We’re a Tar Heel household. Or at least now we are now that I understand that one has to pick a side in NC. 😉 D agrees with you on the chicken and yours looked quite amazing as well.

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  6. Cher says:

    Raises hand! I live in NY and we can only buy beer at the grocer & up until a few years ago all the liquor stores were closed on Sunday. Too much bizarreness from those old laws…

    Glad you worked through it. Whew.

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  7. betsy says:

    Congratulations on being the only one to get browned chicken without broiling. Seems like finishing the roasting lidless is the trick. I’ll definitely try that next time.
    I live in Massachusetts, and Sunday openings for liquor sales is a new innovation here too. Any liquor license holder can only have 3 outlets, so there aren’t any chains. Even places like Trader Joe’s, which can sell beer and wine, can only sell it in 3 of their many locations. Weird.

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  8. Kathy says:

    A great looking chicken! We don’t have state run stores in NJ but, I do remember when liquor stores were closed on Sunday due to “Blue Laws”. Nice post!

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  9. Tasty Mayhem says:

    We still have dry counties in NC. No liquor sales at all. Puts that Sunday thing into perspective.

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  10. Alice says:

    OMG, well good luck stocking up on some liquor for future cooking endeavors! 🙂 Glad you were able to make this one as delicious as Dorie promised!

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