Cast Iron

Chicken Lady Chicken (or Poulet Crapaudine Façon)

April 24, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by My Paris Kitchen
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

One thing I learned pretty quickly about the differences between French and American recipes is that in America, one chicken yields two servings, whereas in France, it yields four and sometimes six. However, in this case, one chicken yields one serving — mine.

If you have an outdoor grill, by all means use it, weighing down the chicken with a brick until the skin side is nice and crispy, before flipping it over. —David Lebovitz

What You'll Need
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons harissa, Sriracha, or Asian chile paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 (3-pound, 1 1/2 kg) chicken
  1. Put the minced garlic and salt in a resealable plastic bag and crush it with the heel of your hand until it’s a paste. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, soy sauce, harissa, mustard, and honey to the bag, combining the ingredients well.
  2. Remove the backbone of the chicken by snipping down both sides of the spine with poultry shears, or taking a chef’s knife and cutting along both sides of it, and pulling it off. With the breast side down on the cutting board, take a knife and crack the bone between the breasts, then push the chicken down with your hands so it spreads out and lies flat. Flip the chicken over so it’s skin side up and press down with the heels of your hands on the chicken very firmly -- like you’re giving it a shiatsu massage -- to flatten it as much as you possibly can. Don’t go easy on it.
  3. Loosen the skin from the breast and thigh meat and spoon some of the marinade under the skin. Put the chicken in the bag, close it securely, and use your hands to rub the ingredients into the chicken. Refrigerate it for 1 to 2 days, flipping the bag over a few times as it marinates.
  4. To cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop and place the chicken in it, breast side down. Drape a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the top and set a heavy weight on top of it. A good option is a brick or a large saucepan filled with water. (I used a leftover weight from the boot camp I quit.)
  5. Cook the chicken until the skin is a deep golden brown, which usually takes about 10 minutes or so -- check it often. Once it’s browned, flip the chicken over, replace the weight, and let it cook for about 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove the weight and the foil and place the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes, until it’s cooked through. To serve it French-style, cut the chicken into six pieces: two legs, two thighs, and cut each breast in half crosswise, leaving the wings attached.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michele
  • Rhonda35
  • EmilyC
  • Jeanne

11 Reviews

Jeanne February 20, 2024
I've made this recipe many times. It will brown just as well in the oven, (at 400 for about 15 minutes and then 30 minutes at 350) but if you're going to par-brown it on the stove-top, the pan should be hot, but the heat needs to be turned down a bit so that it doesn't brown so quickly. On this go-round, the breast (on the stovetop) was very brown in about 4 minutes on high.
Charlie February 11, 2017
In Canada, one chicken also serves 4 to six
doug J. January 19, 2016
marinated it for 24 hours, and used meyer lemon juice. increased the olive oil and lemon juice amounts to ensure the chicken was actually in a marinade in the gallon ziplock freezer bag used to marinate it. observations: 1) yes, the chicken browns more quickly than 10 minutes. 2) the skin can stick a bit, but using a spatula to loosen it can prevent tearing. 4) it's important to really flatten the chicken. otherwise the breasts brown more than the legs. 5) would also increase the sriracha to provide it more of a kick than it had. 6) drained fat from roasting pan and added water and salt to make a simple pan sauce, then poured that over the chicken and garlicky greens prepared separately, once the chicken had been cut up and arranged over the greens. fantastic flavor!
Michele July 3, 2015
Even blackened, the skin was amazing. I cut my chicken into ten pieces and grilled it instead of cooking on the stove. So delicious!
ghainskom July 1, 2014
Mine looked black and charred too but was deliciously juicy.
WhileItRises May 1, 2014
Like the comments say on the serious eats blurb about the same recipe, take the advice to check it way before the 10 minutes is up on the first sear. Mine was black after 3 minutes, and I went lower than medium high heat. I let the chicken marinate for 3 days, and the taste was wonderful, though. Just wish the skin had been golden instead of black!
Chris K. May 1, 2014
This sounds so delicious and even with a shortened marinade is definitely week night doable. will hve put into te rotation.
Rhonda35 April 30, 2014
Can't wait to try this! I'm a long-time David Lebovitz fan and love his books. One small detail: if you follow the directions in the last sentence of step 6, you'll end up with eight, not six pieces of chicken. However, it sounds like we'll be eating the entire thing ourselves no matter how we cut it up!
Danna April 30, 2014
Can you cook this in a le creuset style pot?
EmilyC April 29, 2014
Made this over the weekend and it was insanely good. I only had time to marinate the chicken for about 2.5 hours, so I can't imagine how delicious this will be upon a full 1 to 2 day soak. I increased the salt to compensate for the decreased time, but otherwise followed the recipe. So, so good!
culture_connoisseur April 27, 2014
Great recipe! This will be fun to make on the barbecue along with beautiful, fresh vegetables on a warm summer evening.