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Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter

Dominique Giraudeau, chef at Le Grand Cerf, a Michelin one-star restaurant between Reims and Épernay, has a huge cellar of Champagnes at his disposal, many of them well aged. “When we create a menu, we obviously want to get the best accord between the food and the Champagnes,” he says. “Although in fact every­thing goes with Champagne, it’s a ­question of ­deciding which.”


Chopped fresh herbs (a handful each of chives, tarragon, flat leaf parsley and chervil)
10½ ounces lightly salted butter, divided
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1 chicken (4–5 pounds)
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil or peanut oil
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
3–4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves


The day before cooking, chop and mix herbs. Put 8 ounces of butter, black pepper and lemon juice in blender. Start blender and add herbs. Blend until smooth. Check seasoning. Remove from blender.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Insert herb mixture gently between flesh and skin. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350˚F. Roast chicken in pan with the remainder of the butter, plus the oil, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Roast for 90 minutes, basting frequently.

Remove pan from oven. Place chicken on cutting board to rest. Add 1 cup of water to the pan juices and reheat. Remove as much fat as possible. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve chicken and coat pieces with pan juices. Serve with new potatoes and bacon slices. Serves 4.

Pair It

Louis Roederer 2008 Vintage Brut

“You need to play on the acidity of Champagne with food, especially rich food,” says Giraudeau. “So a younger vintage Champagne goes with a rich chicken dish.”