Rachel’s cooking show of the same name has been running on The Cooking Channel since the start of the New Year. I was never a French food person, honestly. Too much escargot and too many capers for my taste plus (gasp) I’m not a huge French pastry fan. But not even half-way through the first 30 minute episode I watched, I knew I was hooked. The recipes were simple and they used ingredients I had in my fridge. There was decadence to both the sweet and savory recipes and how could you go wrong with fresh, warm, crunchy bread? The recipes didn’t take a lot of special tools and were most likely faster to make than most of my current dinner repertoire. After that first episode, I was ready and willing to try French food at home.
I immediately jumped on the internet and looked for one of the recipes I’d just seen, but to my chagrin, the Cooking Channel website had not listed any of the recipes yet. After a few more episodes and more recipes I wanted to try still not appearing on the website, I knew that I just needed to bite the bullet and buy the new cookbook, Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen.
1 tablespoon dried lavender*
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2-4 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken (either 2 leg quarters or 4 thighs and/or legs)**
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt
* Be sure that your lavender is made to steep for tea and/or to cook with. Not all lavender is made for consumption. Lavender extract can be used if need be, but it’s not really the same and not as good.
** I choose dark meat for 2 reasons – more flavor and cheaper by the pound. If you wish, you can use breast meat or double the recipe and use a whole chicken split into 8-10 pieces.
Do not preheat oven yet.
In a mortar with a pestle, add lavender and dried thyme. Muddle to release and revive the dried herbs.
In a large zip close bag, add chicken pieces. Sprinkle over dried herbs. Add the balance of the ingredients and seal the bag. Mush around chicken in the bag to cover completely with ingredients. Place bag in dish (to avoid leaking everywhere) and let set for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400°F for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Remove chicken pieces from bag and place in roasting dish with skin down, making sure to get as much of the marinade from the bag as possible. Discard bag.
Roast for 45 minutes or until juices run clear when poked at the thickest part of the meat. Turn chicken pieces to skin up about 20 minutes in to let crisp. Let set 5-10 minutes before cutting to let the juices reincorporate. Serve with crunchy bread to soak up the lovely, tangy, floral juices.