Review of Home Chef's Parisian Bistro Bone-In Chicken with dauphinoise potatoes & carrots

Dave Beaulieu July 1st, 2018

Review Summary

This meal kit hit a real sweet spot for me. I love simple roasted chicken, where the skin is left on to get crispy and tasty, and the bone helps keep the meat tender and juicy. I cook my own versions of this dish several times a month. And so my expectations were pretty high going in.

And I'm happy to report that Home Chef delivered on a great meal.

All the ingredients where fresh and of high quality. The chicken was maybe just slightly on the small side, but it was enough to satisfy (just no leftovers). The potatoes and carrots where fresh, tasted great, and the directions for cooking them were very clear. There was more than enough of both.

Home Chef's version has you making a pan sauce at the end of the cooking process, which is the critical step for bringing the whole meal together. The included pack of demi-glace tasted rich & flavorful (they are often too salty), and made enough sauce for both portions.

The directions were easy to follow, and well written, using the right techniques, that even a novice should be able to follow. It took me about 50 minutes to cook it; but I was also filming at the time. If you did a couple things simultaneously, I think one could it get done in 35 - 40 minutes.

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Ingredients

Everything that comes in this Home Chef box, is an "easy ingredient" to ship...meaning they don't spoil very quickly/easily. And all the ingredients that came where fresh, in good quality and ultimately tasted great.

The chicken breasts that came were a bit on the smaller side, but still a reasonable portion size. There were plenty of potatoes & carrots. And everything arrived still packed in frozen cold packs in the insulated box.

The ingredients that Home Chef included were:

  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz Yukon potato
  • 8 oz carrot
  • 6 chive sprigs
  • 2 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
  • 4 oz light cream
  • 1/2 oz light brown sugar
  • 1/3 oz butter
  • 2 tsp chicken demi-glace

I only had to add some salt, pepper and oil.

Making the dish

Like the other Home Chef meals that I've cooked, the recipe card breaks the cooking process down into 5 steps (some are actually 6). Each step is an easy to manage part of the process, and makes cooking the dish very straight forward even for a novice cook. That said, the more comfortable you are, the better you'll be able to read ahead and do some of the steps simultaneously. Doing that gets a bit more hectic for sure, but if you can manage it, you can probably shave 10 minutes off your cooking time.

The Home Chef steps (and my shortcuts) are:

  1. Prepare the ingredients - during which you slice and cook the potatoes, and chop up all the other vegetables
  2. Cook the chicken - I love that Home Chef has you cook the chicken skin side down first. That is critical to get a crispy skin. Once seared on both sides, they suggest moving the chicken to a baking sheet and then into an oven. My suggestion would be start the chicken in an oven proof frying pan, and then just move the whole pan into the oven - no baking sheet needed.
  3. Finish the Dauphinoise Potatoes - After getting the chicken into the oven you finish making the potatoes. Again, if you're comfortable, this can worked on while the chicken is searing the in pan. In this step you're combining the blanched potatoes with the cream, cheese and shallot and moving that mix into the oven to cook at the same time as the chicken.
  4. Make the Vichy Carrots - Using the pot from the potatoes, you combine the brown sugar, butter and carrots with some water and simmer the carrots until tender; and there is a light bit of sauce left in the pot.
  5. Making the sauce is the final step - Home Chef has you use the pan we seared the chicken in to make the sauce. The sauce is a simple combo of shallot, demi-glace and water - and the pan drippings. That's a great technique, but since my method has the pan in the oven, I'd do it right after taking the chicken out, while they rest for a few minutes. 

Honestly the most important part of this recipe, is to not over cook the chicken. While the carrots or the potatoes, can be cooked a bit harder or softer which won't ruin the dish; dry, cardboard like chicken certainly will. If you don't have one, I'd suggest you buy an instant read meat thermometer. Cook the chicken to 160 F and it will be perfect.

Taste

I thought everything in this dish tasted really good.

The chicken was tender and juicy (provided you don't over cook it). The cooking technique used, gets the chicken skin crispy and flavorful (my favorite part), and the sauce we created at the end is a great compliment.

The potatoes get creamy and salty with the parmesan cheese. And who wouldn't love potatoes, cream an cheese. I might add half the chives directly into the mix next time to bring a bit more onion flavor in.

And contrasting the salt of the chicken & potatoes are the slightly sweet carrots. This technique gets them just barely tender, which is my preference. But you could cook them longer or shorter to adjust their tenderness.

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Home Chef's Parisian Bistro Bone-In Chicken with dauphinoise potatoes & carrots

Home Chef's Parisian Bistro Bone-In Chicken

Overall

This dish is right in my wheel house, and I really enjoyed cooking and eating it.

There is a nice balance of flavors and textures, and it feels like a complete, healthy meal. It also presents as a pretty formal meal too. So if you're looking for a special occasion option that won't break the bank, or take too much time in the kitchen this would be a great option.

With a bit of practice I think you could get the cooking time down to about 35 minutes. Even newbies, shouldn't have too much trouble getting this cooked within an hour.  And I think if you've got little ones around, this is a nice kid friendly meal too.

Overall, I really liked it. Thumbs up.

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