Storified by ebanreb· Fri, Apr 05 2013 18:45:04
For all the recipes, try to find a free-range, farm-reared, preferably organic chicken. If you can't, buy the best you can afford.
1: Chicken in a Pot
This is my version of the famous Poule au Pot. A nice, plump chicken weighing about 2.5kg should feed four people very easily.
Peel and slice 2 onions. Peel and slice 6 carrots. Wash and slice three leeks. Chop up a couple of celery sticks.
Put the chicken and the prepared vegetables into a large saucepan. (Remember to remove the plastic bag containing the giblets, if there is one!). Cover the chicken with cold water. Add some salt and pepper, and throw in a handful of chopped fresh tarragon or parsley. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 2 hours, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface of the water.
Take the chicken out of the poaching liquid and carve it or just chop it into pieces. Check the seasoning. Serve the chicken surrounded by the cooked vegetables, with some of the broth poured over.
Some new potatoes would be nice, too. How easy is that?--restaurant lourmarin michelin
2: Chicken Breasts with Calvados
Take 4 large-ish chicken breasts. Season them well with salt, freshly-ground black pepper and a little dried tarragon. Peel and slice 2 shallots. Peel and slice 500g button mushrooms.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying-pan. When the oil is moderately hot, throw in a large knob of butter. Add the chicken breasts and brown lightly on both sides in the oil and butter. Take the chicken out of the pan and set to one side. Add the sliced shallots to the oil and butter remaining in the pan and cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook the shallots and mushrooms until they are just beginning to brown. Put the chicken back in the pan. Cook everything together for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. Try not to overcook them.
Pour over 3 tablespoons of Calvados. If you haven't got any Calvados, use brandy or whisky. Boil rapidly for a couple of minutes to cook away the harshness of the alcohol, leaving only the flavour. If you want to be really flash, you can set it alight - but be careful not to singe your eyebrows! Now add about 200ml double cream. Bring the mixture to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is reduced and starting to thicken. Check the seasoning. If you like, add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice to cut the richness. At the last moment throw in a small handful of chopped fresh parsley or tarragon.
Serve with plain boiled rice or pasta.
3: Chicken Grilled with Garlic, Lemon & Herbs
Cut a large chicken into pieces (or, if you prefer, buy 8 oven-ready chicken joints). Mix together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, 2 peeled and crushed cloves of garlic, a small handful of fresh tarragon and some salt and pepper. Rub this mixture into all sides of the pieces of chicken. If possible, leave the chicken to stand for an hour or so.
Heat the grill to its highest setting. Lay the prepared chicken joints in one layer in a large shallow roasting tin or grill pan. Put the pan under the grill. Cook for about 10 minutes. Keep your eye on it. You want the chicken to turn brown and crisp, perhaps even starting to scorch a little here and there - but don't let it burn. Turn the pieces over and cook the other sides for a further 5 - 6 minutes.
Remove from the grill. Dot with more butter and some roughly chopped fresh parsley or tarragon. Serve a once with some sauté potatoes and a dressed green salad.