I often make this recipe at home when I am in a hurry, because splitting and flattening the chicken and cutting between the joints of the leg and the shoulder reduce the cooking time by half.
I use kitchen shears to split the chicken open at the back and to cut the cooked bird into serving pieces and a knife to cut between the joints.
The mustard crust can be made ahead of time and even spread on the chicken a day ahead, if you like. I pour the cooked chicken juices into a fat separator with a spout and serve over Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, leaving the fat behind.
What you need:
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 chicken (about 31/2 pounds)
For the crust: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone of the chicken to split it open. Spread and press on the chicken with your hands to flatten it. Using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway through both sides of the joints connecting the thighs and drumsticks and cut through the joints of the shoulder under the wings as well. (This will help the heat penetrate these joints and accelerate the cooking process).
Place the chicken skin side down on a cutting board and spread it with about half the mustard mixture. Turn the chicken over into a large skillet so it is flat with the skin side up. Place the skillet over high heat to start the cooking and spread the remaining mustard mixture on the skin side of the chicken. When the chicken has cooked on top of the stove for about 5 minutes, place the skillet in the oven and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. It should be well browned and dark on top.
Let the chicken rest in the skillet at room temperature for a few minutes, then cut it into 8 pieces with clean kitchen shears. Defat the cooking juices.
Recently, Pépin was awarded the highest honor by the French government and holds the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. Pépin is the host of many popular public television programs, including his latest series "Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way." His memoir, "The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen," was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2003 and his most recent book, published by Stewart Tabori & Chang in April 2007, is a visual biography: "Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook."
Pépin shared the spotlight with Julia Child in an earlier PBS series, which is still shown occasionally on public television stations today. This 22 show series, "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home," was the winner of The James Beard Foundation’s award for Best National Cooking Show in 2001, and the duo received a Daytime Emmy award that same year.
Click here to read more Meal Makeovers.