Welcome to the lively atmosphere of La Fontaine de Mars, a Parisian bistro founded in 1908, nestled in the heart of the French capital. As soon as guests pass through the heavy red curtain, they are captivated by the spirit of a place that has lovingly preserved the traces of its past.
Checkered tablecloths, vintage objects, earthenware tiles, and delicious dishes in generous portions await. Here, you can discover glorious recipes, such as Cassoulet, Porcini Mushroom Pâté., and Strawberry-Pistachio Sabayon, and see the colourful history of La Fontaine de Mars unfold before your eyes.
Neighbourhood regulars, savvy tourists, celebrities (including Robert De Niro, who contributes a foreword, and Mick Jagger), American expatriates, and figures from the world of fashion all frequent this legendary address.
Sunday Roast Chicken
Prep: 15 minutes
Rest: 24 hours
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
FOR THE ROAST CHICKEN:
1 garlic clove
2 ¼ oz. (60 g) softened butter ¼ onion
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 free-range chicken of about 4 ½ lb. (2 kg), gutted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
FOR THE GRAVY:
1 tablespoon white wine
Scant ½ cup (100 ml) chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vinegar mustard
1 ½ tablespoon (1 oz./25 g) butter
FOR THE MASHED POTATO
1 ¾ lb. (800 g) Ratte potatoes
2 teaspoons milk
Scant ¼ cup (50 ml) whipping cream
2/3 cup (5 oz./150 g) butter, diced
The day before, prepare the chicken. Score the garlic cloves by making several small cuts along the sides and place in a bowl. Add the softened butter, onion, shallot, thyme leaves, and bay leaf and mix together well. Stuff the chicken with this mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C). Massage the chicken flesh with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken in the oven, basting it every 5 minutes for the duration of cooking: 20 minutes on one leg, 20 minutes on the other leg, and 20 minutes turned on its back after lowering the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). Remove the chicken from the oven and turn off the oven. Cover the dish with foil and leave to rest in the oven with the door open for 20 minutes.
Make the gravy. Deglaze the roasting pan with the white wine to loosen all the cooking residues from the bottom of the pan, then stir in the bouillon, water, and mustard. Strain this gravy through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan and, over low heat, whisk in the butter.
Make the mashed potato. Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and steam them for about 25 minutes. Mash them by hand (don’t use a food processor or stick blender or the puree may become gluey). In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream, then pour it into the mashed potato. Stir in the butter and stir everything until smooth and even. Keep it warm.
Carve the roast chicken and serve it with the mashed potato. Pour over the gravy and serve immediately.
Enjoy with a Beaujolais-Villages “Le Rang du Merle” 2016 by Jean-Claude Lapalu.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Abrams Books.