Published January 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.
The French have a curious take on stuffed chicken: Rather than roasting it, they braise it and add vegetables to make a one-pot meal. Sound odd? We thought so—until we tried it.
Following the traditional method of cooking stuffing inside the bird inevitably results in overcooked meat by the time the stuffing is cooked through, and the stuffing is a pain to remove from the cavity. Despite this dish’s appealing profile, most recipes produce dismal results: Nearly all of the birds are dry, the broths washed-out, and the stuffings loose and damp.
We decided to refine poule au pot, with the following goals: juicy chicken, tender vegetables, a hearty stuffing, and a clean, concentrated jus.
The best method was to cook the stuffing separately. We opted to form the bread-sausage mixture into cylinders, wrapping them in parchment paper and steaming the packages in the pot until the meat had cooked through. To make sure there was room for all the components—chicken, vegetables, and stuffing—we swapped from a whole chicken to chicken pieces, which we browned first. This also sped up the cooking time for the meat, and it saved us the trouble of carving the chicken.
As another measure to prevent the white meat from drying out, we propped the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables, leg quarters, and stuffing logs. We then added just enough broth to partially submerge the vegetables, making sure that the white meat sat above the liquid.list of recipes