Lemon Sauce for Roast Chicken and Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

This week the Autumnal chill has hit abruptly, just as much as returning to school routines after the mid-term holiday. Fumbling for lost gloves, I struggle with a new swift boot walk as my feet are in straight-jacketed shock with thick chaussettes.

I have abandoned the attempt to look like the chic French women with their scarves nonchalantly thrown over shoulders. Instead I gravitate towards the magical sizzling chicken rôtisseries dotted along the street on the way to the market.

That was it; roast chicken for a perfectly quick, comforting dinner. Mention chicken in St Germain-en-Laye and there’s only one place to make for at the market: in the central aisle, you’ll find Monsieur Dee. He’s not difficult to find since he pulls the crowds not just for his graceful service but his produce is in another league – such as the enormous duck filets, paupiettes parcels and saucisses de volaille (poultry sausages.)

By the time I arrive, most of the roasted chickens have disappeared. Before I know it, in pops a few extra chicken filets and a customary ‘bouquet du jardin’ of parsley on the house, as he tells me persil is for les dames, pas les hommes. Adoraaable Monsieur Dee!

Jack Be Little Pumpkins

Just across from Monsieur Dee’s sizzling poulet rôtis is la maison Huet, who always put on such a parade of forgotten vegetables that the conversation in the queue is guaranteed to provide an exchange of interesting recipes. Below left are the round Parisian carrots I talked about in this vegetable soup recipe post, but this time I was determined to do something other than use these mini pumpkins as decoration. They’re called Jack Be Little.

How to cook a Jack Be Little: I was told to simply prick it a few times, stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes on full blast, cut the top off, scoop out the seeds and fill the remaining hole with a mixture of emmental cheese, bacon and crème fraîche. That’s it; ridiculously easy and delicious to boot. Instead I filled each mini pumpkin with a mixture of bacon, cooked chestnuts, parmesan, crème fraîche and parsley.

For each individual pumpkin, briefly fry 4 cooked chestnuts, 1 chopped smoked bacon rasher, 1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, finely chopped parsley, a tablespoon of crème fraîche and season to taste. Fill the cavity with it, then place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. Then serve with a spoon and mix the whole thing up with the pumpkin flesh at the table.

And the kids’ favourite part to go with the roasted chicken?  A creamy, tart lemon sauce. I’m surprised that my girls would like such a simple sauce so much. What I love about it, is that it’s another way to use up yolks so it’s now added to the growing egg yolk recipe collection. It’s also a lovely sauce to accompany any leftover turkey!

lemon sauce recipe for roast chicken or turkey

Jack Be Little and Jill Be Quick with dinner …

Lemon Sauce Recipe for Roasted Chicken or Turkey

Serves 6

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

200ml chicken stock
3 egg yolks
juice and zest of 1 lemon (untreated)
100ml cream

1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the lemon juice, zest and cream in a bowl and gradually whisk the mixture into the hot stock.

3. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens slightly and bubbles.

Lemon sauce for roast chicken or turkey

Monsieur Dee thought we’d be celebrating Thanksgiving since we speak English. As our American friends are gearing up for next week, we’re instead celebrating la fête du Beaujolais Nouveau tonight in France. Apparently this year it’s another fruity success, with a hint of peaches.

Ah, it reminds us of our student days; 21 years ago, I met my Frenchie over a glass of particularly banana-flavoured Beaujolais Nouveau. Although, if you want my opinion, this lemon roast chicken and the pumpkin would partner well with a Gaillac or a Côte du Rhône white. I mean, look what happens after a glass or two of Beaujolais! I ended up haveeeeing to speak French!



24 replies
  1. Lora
    Lora says:

    That lemon sauce looks incredible. Also I never thought to cook one of those little pumpkins. They are scattered all around my NYC apt. as decoration.

  2. Lucie
    Lucie says:

    I found how we comment on the blog!
    If I could, I would make you dinner tonight but I don’t cook as good as you!
    Lucie 🙂

  3. Tony
    Tony says:

    am not a roast chicken addict but with a lemon sauce like this it makes all the difference – thanks for the tip, once again you’re the best – great post!

  4. June S
    June S says:

    These mini pumpkins look just yummy. I want to find them and add a pipkin of pepper. Reminds me of story telling to my grandchildren at this time of year.

  5. Jean-Pierre
    Jean-Pierre says:

    I can smell that chicken from here! LOVE this mini pumpkin idea. I’ve also just decorated with these things and had no idea they’re called Jack be little, either. Great job also with the lemon sauce for something different with our left-over turkey at Thanksgiving, Jill.

  6. Ann Mah
    Ann Mah says:

    I’m in love with those petite pumpkins, especially their name! And this tangy sauce would be a wonderful accompaniment to roast turkey… or a way to liven up the dreaded roast turkey leftovers!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Awe – lovely Hester! Thank you. You know, I’d LOVE to put tons of savoury recipes up but it looks rather strange on a macaron site. I’m kind of stuck in a rut here, eh?

  7. Liz
    Liz says:

    Mmmmm….the lemon sauce looks perfect for your Parisian roast chicken 🙂 And your stuffed pumpkins sound simply elegant…and so yummy with the bacon and chestnuts!

  8. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    Oh my goodness, those little jacks are adorable!! Funny, I never thought to cook with them, I just use them for decoration (Liv was very disappointed that 3 of those little guys were our ONLY decorations for Halloween. She said “Bad Mommy”. )
    I know what you mean about the cold! I also know that I am totally spoiled here in San Diego, but I’ve had to switch from my beloved flip/flops in the morning to my fuzzy boots, and my poor little Maltese Pups are snuggling together on a warm blanket. I say bring back summer!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well I’m sure if you cook these little pumpkins you’ll be converted from decorating with them, Kim. Bring back summer indeed. Let’s hibernate and wake up in Spring!

  9. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    A dinner fit for a King! Those teeny pumpkins are gadorable and more than delicious. And totally sign me up for that sauce. A tart, tangy TWOFER! (sauce and egg yolk usage) Well done 🙂



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