Free-range chicken in a casserole

There is free-range and free-range..

The poultry on sale at the butcher’s or in the supermarket may be labelled free-range but that does not mean they could roam about the farm as their ancestors.

There are some poultry farmers around here with large barns where the birds can actually move around and are not squeezed together in cages. We also know some people that keep poultry running around in the fields around an old textile mill where they live.

Those are plump beasts and their meat is tastier and tougher so you need to cook it a bit longer.

I usually oven-roast chicken, some times in a plastic bag. This time I wanted to use my doufeu casserole of Le Creuset.

First I heated some butter and olive oil to brown the chicken. Then I threw the fat out, cleaned the casserole, and added some onion and unpeeled cloves of garlic to some olive oil.

Then I added chicken stock, some mustard seed and dried herbs, put the chicken on top and let it cook for an hour to five quarters..

I put the lid on top and poured some water in the lid.

With the back side down, the legs were cooked in contact with the liquid and close to the gas. The breasts were steamed in vapour higher up in the pan. This helped in cooking the bird whole as legs usually need more time than breasts. Especially those muscled legs of this chicken. I had the gas flame at its lowest

Before serving I added some salt and Espelette peppers.  While I carved and served the chicken out of the pan, the taste of the herbs and garlic was present as a light undertone to the chicken flavour.