Wolfgang Puck's Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon and Whole-Grain Mustard

Wolfgang Puck's Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon and Whole-Grain Mustard
From the Kitchen of Wolfgang Puck
Servings: 2-4
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: 30-60 min

"This is my secret for success with a small roast chicken. Its
skin will be mahogany brown and crackling, while all of its meat,
white and dark alike, will be moist and flavorful. The chicken's
anatomy, with the tender, low-fat breast meat so prominently
exposed to the oven's dry heat, makes it difficult to perfect
oven-roasted chicken, as it's easy to overcook the light meat.

"Flattening the chicken by removing the backbone – butchers call
this "butterflying" – is an easy and convenient way to get around
the problem. Butterflying changes the anatomy of the chicken so
that it cooks more evenly.

"If you have a service-oriented butcher, he will know what you
mean when you ask him to butterfly the bird (if he doesn't, ask
him to cut out the backbone and flatten it while keeping it
intact). If you always buy your chicken at the supermarket where
there seems to be no butcher in sight, it's easy to do it
yourself. All you need is a pair of poultry shears." -- Wolfgang


1 whole organic frying chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, butterflied
1 sprig fresh flat-leafed Italian parsley, 2 fresh basil leaves
or 1 small sprig rosemary
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup organic chicken stock
Juice of 2 large lemons (6 to 8 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced or fresh basil, finely shredded

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. From the neck opening, gently
ease your fingertips between the skin and the meat to loosen the
skin all over the breast, taking care not to tear the skin.

Insert the parsley sprig, basil leaves, or rosemary sprig under
the skin.

Season the chicken generously on all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold the chicken over
high heat.

Add the olive oil and swirl it in the skillet.

As soon as you begin to see slight wisps of smoke, carefully
place the chicken skin side down in the skillet.

Sear the chicken, undisturbed, while reducing the heat little by
little to medium, until its skin has turned golden brown and
crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With tongs, carefully turn the chicken
skin side up.

Put the skillet with the chicken into the preheated oven and cook
until the chicken is deep golden brown and the juices run clear
when the thickest part of the thigh meat is pierced with a thin
skewer, 10 to 15 minutes more depending on its size.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the skillet with tongs
and transfer it to a cutting board.

Pour off all but a thin glaze of fat from the skillet.
Return the skillet to high heat, add the chicken stock and the
lemon juice, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the
pan deposits, and boil the liquid until it has reduced by half
its volume, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn down the heat, add the mustard, and, stirring briskly with a
wire whisk, add the remaining butter a piece at a time, to make a
creamy sauce. Make sure each piece has been incorporated
completely before adding the next.

Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and stir in half
of the parsley or basil.

To serve, spoon the sauce into the centers of two to four heated
serving plates.

With a large, sharp knife, cut the chicken into two halves or
four equal pieces.

Place the chicken on the plates, sprinkle with the remaining
parsley or basil, and serve.

If making this for two people, using a small chicken, halve the
quantities of ingredients in the sauce (the chicken stock, lemon
juice and butter).

You can butterfly the chicken yourself if you don't have a
butcher who will do it. It's easy with poultry shears. Working
slowly and deliberately, use poultry shears to cut along each
side of the backbone from neck to tail, and remove it. Turn the
bird breast-up, spread it open and flatten it with a firm blow
from the heel of your hand.

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