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Chef Marc Avery of Marly's Bar & Bistro in Wilton

Chef Marc Avery proves you don’t need a fancy recipe to create a tasty, soul-satisfying dish. “This is a straightforward recipe that uses fewer ingredients than most but allows each individual component to shine,” says Avery, of Marly’s Bar & Bistro in Wilton. Gluten-free pan-roasted half-chicken represents the restaurant’s philosophy of good, old-fashioned food. “I buy quality ingredients and treat them with care. Everything in this dish is a staple of American cuisine.”

Cooking since he was 16, Avery appreciates today’s emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. “Not only are the ingredients fresher and tastier, it benefits local small businesses and reduces our carbon footprint. Doing a small part in making the future a better place tastes better,” he says.

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Simplicity and a savory sauce elevate the recipe. “Most sauces that accompany chicken dishes are thickened with either flour or cornstarch. When you make a reduction, the flavor is off the charts,” says Avery, describing the dish as warm, hearty and tasty. 

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Pan-roasted half-chicken

served with natural pan gravy, mashed potatoes, and bacon green beans

Servings: 2

Cooking & preparation time: 30 minutes 

Roasted chicken

  • 2½-pound whole chicken, deboned, skin on, cut into equal halves
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, cleaned and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Pan gravy

  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • ½ cup dry white wine, preferably Chablis
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (if using canned, chef suggests College Inn)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mashed potatoes

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled, chopped in large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bacon green beans

  • ½-pound French-style green beans (fresh, not frozen)
  • ½ diced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons cooked bacon, chopped, about 4 strips
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a small pot, place potatoes in cool water, cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.

3. In the same pot, add milk and butter and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Return potatoes to the pot and mash with a wire whisk until smooth with no large lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep hot until ready to serve.

4. While the potatoes are cooking, season the half-chickens with salt, pepper and thyme. In a large sauté pan, add oil and carefully place chicken skin down and sauté over medium-high heat until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes, then place it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.After 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and place it on a baking pan, skin up, and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until fully cooked. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees at the thickest point.

5. Drain excess grease and place the large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, white wine, and 1½ cups of stock and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter; season with salt and pepper. (Chef’s note: When making a reduction sauce, it’s important not to season until the sauce is reduced; otherwise it is easy to overseason.)

6. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the green beans. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add green beans; cook for 20 seconds. Remove and strain. Cool the beans down with ice to stop them from cooking. In the same pot, add shallots, butter, diced bacon and chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Add beans and continue to slowly simmer for 5 minutes.

7. To plate, place the mashed potato on the upper-right portion of the plate, then to the left of that neatly place the beans, slightly leaning them on top of the potatoes, then top them with the bacon that remains in the pan. Lastly, in front of the potatoes and beans, pour the gravy and chicken on top of that, slightly propped up against the potatoes and beans but not covering them. (Why the sauce underneath?:Chef Avery says he wants the skin crispy and to highlight its beautiful golden-brown color.)

Pamela Brown is a former English professor, a freelance writer, a marketing/PR specialist for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, and author of Faithful Love, her first novel that inspired a love of writing. Pamela resides in Connecticut with her daughter, Alexis, who makes her life an adventure.

This article appeared in the January 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.