Trussing + Julia Child's Chicken

Last week I awoke and decided I was going to make Julia Child's roast chicken. This was a special day for several reasons. First, it was Julia's roast chicken. Allow me to take a moment to elaborate on Julia Child; a woman who inspired a writer who greatly inspired me which, in turn, introduced me to Julia Child who now inspires me.

In Julie & Julia, the story of two Julie's plays out, the one of a writer, Julie Powell who uses cooking and writing to redesign her life by writing a blog about cooking her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Her story parallels that of Julia Child's life, which is taken from the book "My Life in France." The story is so touching in so many ways that I would look like a huge dork to talk about it in detail.

The point is, I have long admired Julia Child's pioneering attitude when it comes to food, and life, and she was revolutionary in her skill and knowledge. I have had a copy of her cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and I have read nearly every recipe in the book sans some desserts...but until this day when I decided to truss and roast HER chicken, I had never cooked one of HER recipes. It's true.

Sure, I had referenced them many a time to see how she did things, but I had never tried to tackle the recipe in whole. Now was the time. And there I was, in my local grocery store, looking for twine and a big mattress needle (which is called for in the recipe). The trussing needle turned out to be a "poultry lacer" and after using it to truss the damn chicken, I'm gonna say I wish I had a mattress needle.

Let me just say that I thought that trussing would be simple... I think my false confidence came from the fact that quartering a chicken had gone so easily, but they are not the same thing AT ALL. That sucker was slippery, and I had trouble getting the "poultry lacer" to cooperate with me. If I had a bigger needle, I am sure this would have gone faster... but nonetheless, I did it. And I was pretty proud of myself. Check it out:

My supplies 


Basically, trussing is a system of tying the legs and wings to themselves and tucking everything in neatly so that it cooks wonderfully, is easy to manage, and presents on a plate with tantalizing beauty. Moving on from the trussing stage, I had a lot of basting ahead of me. I followed the recipe, buttering the bird and salting it, and then setting it in a pan into the oven. 

The reason this recipe gets intense is because you are addressing your roast every 8-10 minutes and re-basting it, or even turning it from side to side to make sure all sides are getting proper attention. I did my duty diligently, setting my timer, and then furiously basting and basting again! Because of the constant attention to basting, I had prepared my side dishes to be fairly easy. 

I did two individual au gratin potatoes, of my own recipe, which I prepared ahead of time and simply popped them into the oven when I started the chicken. When I thought that they were done, I pulled them out, and then at the end (in the last 10 minutes) I added cheese and bread crumbs and put them back in. I also steamed up some kale (which took about 10 minutes) while the chicken was resting. 

But after all that attention to detail and baste after baste, I was wondering how it would ultimately turn out. So I turned to the ultimate judge of my culinary skills: my husband. He carved into the chicken, and it was positively moist! It  was amazing... so juicy and lovely and yummy. It was everything that Julia Child said it would be. We gobbled down our dinners so fast I could barely move afterward! Total dinner heaven! The trussing, the basting, and the time it took to complete the recipe? Beyond worth it! 

Julia's chicken is amazingly juicy and yummy! 

I made individual casseroles of au gratin potatoes

Steamed kale is a great leafy green and side dish! 

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