Tonight I made Poulet Poele a l'Estragon with farce duxelles (casserole-roasted chicken with tarragon, with mushroom stuffing) out of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I cook a lot, and I generally consider myself a pretty decent cook, but this recipe... seriously, was out of this world.
The preparation was lengthy and definitely wasn't without it's trials. The mushroom stuffing recipe called for the chicken gizzard to be peeled and minced. Wha?? I had no idea which of the four pieces of offal that came in a little paper bag stuffed up my chicken's butt was the gizzard. I Googled "What does a chicken gizzard look like?"(as you do when hoping against hope for a little miracle, and perhaps a photo...) and guess what popped up? The Julie/Julia Project blog. Seems Julie had had exactly the same problem I did. With her brilliant help, I was able to quickly identify, peel... sort of... and mince my gizzard. Crisis averted. Thank you, Julie!
After an hour and 15 minutes in the oven, that chicken was damn near perfect. The skin was crispy, buttery, and golden brown. The meat was tender and juicy and perfectly seasoned. The mushroom stuffing was earthy and creamy. The sauce had just enough port and tarragon to make it a little bit sweet. Heavenly.
Next up, boeuf bourguignon!