Today marks the 100th birthday of the late Julia Child. In celebration of the bounty this icon of cheffery brought to the table for so many, I thought I'd share out a little recipe based on some of her favorite creations.
Julia Child was not only a master of French cooking; she exuded congeniality and drew you in immediately as a great teacher. She made cooking just seem so easy, as if anyone could do it. And really, you can.
Two of my favorite-paired dishes influenced by Child are her Roast Chicken served with take on her Potato Galette.
Both dishes are almost completely fail proof.
For the roast chicken I substituted Rock Cornish hens for smaller, more individualized portions that I thnk look better visually on the plate.
Before you begin, you'll need to brine your hens. This makes the meat delicate, moist and juicy. It's easy, but you'll need to do it the day before you plan on cooking, especially if you have frozen Cornish hens.
Roasted Rock Cornish Hen with Potato Galette:
Makes 4 servings
For the brine:
- 2-1 gallon freezer bags
- Water to cover hens
- ¼ cup sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4-1 lb. hens, thawed if frozen
Place two hens in a gallon bag. Cover with water and pour in the salt, olive oil and lemon juice.
Refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours. Overnight is fine, too.
For roasting the hens:
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- ¼ softened unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup finely diced carrots, onion and celery (for stuffing)
- 2 tsp. thyme or Herbs de Provence
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbs. freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbs. sea salt
- 8 thin lemon slices
- ½ cup sliced onion
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- 1 tbs. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 4- 1 lb. brined Cornish hens
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Sauté the diced carrots, onion and celery in olive oil for about five minutes or until soft, stirring in the herbs at the last moment. Set aside.
Rinse your hens after removing them from the brine.
Salt and pepper the cavities generously and spoon the cooked vegetables inside each one. Stuff with the chopped parsley and two lemon slices per hen.
Rub the outside of each hen with melted butter.
Truss each hen. If you aren't sure about doing this, you can tie the drumsticks together and tuck the wings underneath.
Place the hens in large roasting pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
15 min: Brush hens with butter and scatter the sliced onions and carrots around the edges.
25 min: Baste the hens with the drippings.
35 min: Brush remaining lemon juice over chicken.
Keep checking in on your hens every 10 minutes or so to baste with pan drippings or lemon juice and replenish water if you see the vegetables drying out or beginning to burn.
At about 45 minutes, begin testing the temperature. A heat resistant meat thermometer should read 175 degrees when placed inside the thigh or breast. If you don't have a thermometer, the drumsticks should move loosely in the sockets and juice should be running clear. These birds should not have to cook more than 60 minutes total.
Once your chickens are ready, place them on a cutting board to rest for about 10-15 minutes.
Throw all the pan drippings into a saucepan, add stock and boil briskly, creating a nice gravy.
- 6-8 small red-skinned potatoes
- ¼ cup softened butter
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 10-inch glass pie plate or shallow tart pan
- Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. You can place this in the oven while you are cooking your Cornish hens about 30 minutes in.
Melt your butter in a glass dish.
Slice the potatoes paper-thin. If you have a mandolin, then that is the choice.
Press the slices into a glass pie dish, distributing evenly in a spiral pattern, two layers deep.
Sprinkle salt and pepper and brush with butter.
Spiral another two layers of potato slices and repeat the salt, pepper and butter.
Repeat the process until the potatoes have all been placed into the pan.
Bake for 25-20 minutes. You'll know it's ready when you see the potatoes with a nice, golden brown coloring and pulling away from the sides of the dish.
If you're wondering why this dish sticks together, the thin slices release the starches during baking, causing the galette to bind together.
Serve with Cornish hens, a light table wine and toast a "Happy Birthday!" to a legendary chef, Julia Child.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother,
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