Roasted crème fraîche chicken with vegetables

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I love French cuisine but have very limited experience with French home cooking.  The extent of my French cooking goes no further than a few desserts--French toast, crepes, crème brulee, soufflés, financiers, and macarons.  Forget coq au vin, duck confit, cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, or bouillabaisse.  I still remember watching Julia Child on TV laboring over those complicated classic dishes and thinking to myself why not just order them at the restaurant.   

Well, that mentality changed recently when Mimi Thorisson’s book A Kitchen in France finally arrived from Amazon.  For me, it’s much easier to cook the food I grew up with.  I can make a Vietnamese dish without any recipe or look at my pantry and fridge and whip up dinner on a whim.  I have this paralyzing fear that I can royally screw up a much anticipated French dinner for my family so I have shied away from French dishes for years.  My library has about twenty five percent French cookbooks but this one in particular made French home cooking seem so approachable and forgiving.  

One of the very first dishes I made was chicken with crème fraiche.  I have made it four times already with only one major screw up.  Yes, only one!  I took a nap and the chicken burned to a crisp.  We have been eating this dish about every two weeks and it has become one of our favorite chicken dishes.  This is the first of many dishes from A Kitchen in France that I will be sharing on the blog.  Enjoy!

Roast chicken with creme fraiche and vegetables (adapted from A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson)

1 whole chicken, about 4-5 lbs
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup crème fraîche
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 shallot, finely sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
one orange, quartered
2 medium thick carrots, cut into 1 inch length and halved
1 lb of new red potatoes, halved (quartered if large)

1.Preheat oven to 375˚F. Take out the chicken about 15 minutes before cooking, wash, clean and pat dry.
2.With a spoon, mash the thyme and butter together until well combined.
3.Use a knife to gently loosen the chicken’s skin. Stuff the mixed thyme and butter evenly underneath the skin.
4.Combine 3 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Use your fingers to massage the entire chicken with the mixture.
5.Fill the cavity with the orange and thyme sprigs. Truss the chicken securely with kitchen twine.
6. Place the chicken, breast side down in a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes.
7. Mix creme fraiche with garlic, shallot, and thyme.
8. Toss the potatoes and carrots with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
9. Remove the chicken from the oven and carefully turn the chicken breast-side up. Rube the creme fraiche all over the top of the chicken.
10. Scatter the potatoes and carrots in a single layer around and underneath the chicken.
11.Transfer the baking dish to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Baste the chicken and vegetable with pan juices. If the chicken starts to brown, place a large piece of aluminum foil over the breast to prevent it from burning.
12. Roast the chicken for another hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken thigh reads 175˚F and the vegetables are tender.
13. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.


  1. Can't remember the last time I made roast chicken.. thanks for reminding me how delicious it is, I have to make this recipe soon!

    1. Hi Thalia! I feel like roast chicken is perfect for fall and winter. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Is the oven temperature really 175°?

    1. hi Anne! My apology, that was a typo! 375° is the correct temp. Thank you for letting me know.