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COOKING WITH GALA

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CHICKEN POT AU FEU 

1 chicken (4-lb)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 qt chicken stock 
1 qt water
1 large onion stuck with 1 whole clove
1 head garlic, left unpeeled and halved horizontally
1 celery rib
1 large bay leaf
8 small leeks (white and pale green parts only, roots trimmed but intact
12 small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) boiling potatoes (1 1/4 lb) 
12 small carrots (1 1/4 lb), peeled
8 small parsnips (1 1/4 lb), peeled
1 large celery root (1 3/4 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 garlic clove 
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups coarsely chopped tender watercress sprigs
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Rinse and pat chicken dry, sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper, stuff cavity with thyme and chill chicken, loosely covered, at least 3 hours (up to 1 day). 

Transfer chicken to a large pot, add stock, water, onion, garlic, celery rib, and bay leaf and bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently simmer chicken, covered, until juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer and thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh. Transfer chicken to a large platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 20 minutes, reserve cooking liquid in pot, uncovered, and discard onion, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. 

Prepare leeks and potatoes while chicken cooks. Starting about 1/2 inch from root end, make a lengthwise cut through middle of each leek (keep leek intact), wash well under cold running water and drain. Halve potatoes. Bring reserved cooking liquid to a boil, then add leeks, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and celery root and simmer, partially covered, until tender, transfer to platter with chicken and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. 

Mash garlic and capers to a paste, transfer to a food processor and pulse with parsley and watercress until herbs are finely chopped, stream in the oil (with motor running) and process until smooth, season to taste sauce with salt and pepper. Serve chicken and vegetables with sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings 80%

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F. Brush baguette slices with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Spread rouille on toasts. Ladle stew into wide soup bowls, top with toasts, and serve. Makes 4 servings.