New York Times food writer and cookbook author Melissa Clark makes a classic French chicken-in-a-pot recipe, but adds puff pastry crust for an American chicken pot pie twist.
For another one of Melissa's favorite French-inspired recipes, check out her Ham & Cheese Quick Bread With Gruyère or Sharp Cheddar.
Adapted from Dinner In French by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Clark. Used with permission by Clarkson Potter. All rights reserved.
- 3 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (preferably lemon thyme)
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 3 ½- to 4-pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 large egg
- Flour, for work surface, plus 3 tablespoons, for roux
- 1 store-bought sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, cleaned, and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 ⅓ cups)
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
- ¼ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, chervil, dill, and/or chives
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
- ½ cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the chicken, in a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons salt with the thyme, garlic, and pepper. Smear the mixture all over the chicken, and let it rest, uncovered, in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry so it will fit over the top of a large Dutch oven; don’t make it too thin. Transfer the pastry to a large plate or cookie sheet. Brush it with the egg wash, cut a few slits in the center, then refrigerate it until you are ready to bake the chicken.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, carrots, mushrooms, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook until the vegetables have softened and are just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Push the vegetables to one side of the pot and melt the butter in the other side (to make the roux). Stir the flour into the butter and cook until it is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir the roux into the vegetables. Nestle the chicken in the pot and add the chicken stock, wine, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and continue to barely simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a rimmed sheet pan in the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and uncover it. Stir in the peas and mixed herbs, and then carefully drape the prepared puff pastry over the pot. Transfer the Dutch oven to the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Make the aioli: Combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender; let the ingredients stand for 1 minute. Add the parsley, tarragon, egg, and egg yolk. Cover and blend briefly on medium speed. With the motor running, drizzle in both oils in a slow steady stream until just combined. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or salt if needed.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to carve. Serve the chicken in soup plates with some of the broth and with pieces of the golden crust. Serve the aioli on the side for drizzling, with flaky sea salt for sprinkling.