Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Roasted Chicken

For my birthday last year, one of the things my husband got me was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I am disappointed in myself to report that this is the first and only recipe I have tried from it in almost a year. In my defense, I thought about it several times but every time I considered it I decided I didn't want to spend 6 hrs in the kitchen cooking. Finally, I broke down. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the traditional wisdom to add one hour to your calculation of however long you think you will spend cooking whenever you make a Julia Child recipe, and we ended up eating dinner at about 9 pm. However....

This was the best roasted chicken I have ever eaten. I'm not exaggerating.

Roasted Chicken
Recipe by Julia Child, adapted slightly
Serves 4
Cook & Prep Time - The recipe said 1 hr, 10 minutes, but it took me at least 3 hrs from start to finish

1 (3-4 lb) chicken
1 onion, quartered, and one small onion, diced
1-2 ribs celery, chopped into thick pieces
1 carrot, chopped into thick pieces
salt & pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt butter (about 1/2 stick)

Rinse the chicken and dry thoroughly. Rub butter on the inside cavity and season with salt & pepper. Tie up the legs with kitchen twine and then rub butter all over the chicken. Season very lightly with salt & pepper.

Place the chicken breast-side up on a roasting rack.

Put the onion, celery, and carrot scattered about in the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes total at 425 degrees F. After 5 minutes, turn it onto the left side and basted with butter. After 5 minutes there, turn it onto the right side and baste with butter. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Baste the chicken with melted butter. Leave the chicken on its right side and roast the chicken for 10 more minutes and then baste again.

About halfway through the estimated roasting time, salt the chicken and turn it on its other side. Baste.

About 15 min before the bird is done, salt again and turn the chicken breast-side up. Salt that side and baste.

Continue this process until the juices run clear, or about 1 hr and 10 minutes of total cooking time. Use the fat from the roasting pan or melt more butter when you run out of the original butter you melted.

To make the sauce, remove the chicken from the roast pan and put on the stove top. Remove all but 2 TBSP of fat from the pan. Stir in the diced onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up the brown bits. Let reduce by about 1/2. Season with salt & pepper. Turn off the heat ad just before serving, swirl  in about 1-2 TBSP of butter.

Carve the chicken and pour a spoonful of sauce over each piece.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Roasted Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Sometimes, I just want mashed potatoes. Add in roasted garlic and mascarpone cheese and I'm all the more interested. I made these to accompany Julia Child's Roasted Chicken, and they were fantastic.

However, when I went to make them, I realized that I didn't have the hour to roast the garlic. Luckily, my America's Test Kitchen cookbook provided an alternative. I ended up putting the individual cloves, in their skins, in a dry skillet over low heat for about 15-20 minutes, turning them occasionally, and ended up with perfectly roasted garlic. It's a slightly different flavor than traditional roasted garlic, but just as good.

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Mascarpone Cheese
Recipe by Bobby Flay

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled & cut into large chunks
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 cloves roasted garlic, pureed
1/2 stick butter
8 oz mascarpone cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a big pot and cover them with cold water. Add some salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, combine the milk, butter, and pureed garlic over low heat.

Drain the potatoes and give them a rough smash. Add the warm milk mixture gradually and smash as you go along.

Stir in the mascarpone cheese and season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Wine-Can" Provencal Roasted Chicken

I love beer can chicken. Love. It. Last winter, when it was too cold to grill, I tried making it in the oven with some success, but it just didn't taste the same and I ended up being disappointed.

Then, a lightbulb went off in my head. Why not try making it with wine instead of beer? The idea seemed much more oven-friendly and perfect for a cold Sunday evening. About 3 months later, I actually made it. (If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably noticed a pattern. I get an idea but then don't act on it for months. I'm trying to get better).

We both really liked this. The wine made the chicken nice and moist and the skin was nice and crispy and the meat had a ton of flavor. I'd definitely do this again. I didn't follow a recipe, so here's a description of what I did:

Wine-Can Provencal Roasted Chicken
Serves 4

Inside Rub
1 (3-4 lb) chicken
3 TBSP butter (or so), softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2-ish TSP herbes de Provence
1/4 dried Parsley
1/4 tsp dried basil

Outside Rub
2-ish TSP herbes de Provence
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried Parsley
2-3 TBSP olive oil

wedge onion
white wine
Minced garlic
fresh herbs (I used rosemary and oregano)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken and thoroughly pat dry. Set aside for a few minutes.

Clean out a beer (or soda) can. Pour wine about 3/4 of the way. Add minced garlic and some fresh herbs to the can. Put in beer can holder for chicken.

Mix together all the butter rub ingredients. Find a few natural openings in the chicken skin and stick a clump under the skin and start to massage it in so that the skin is mostly covered in this rub. Do this on the breasts, legs, and thighs. Put any remaining butter mixture in the cavity.

Place the chicken on the beer can holder.

Mix together the oil rub ingredients and use a brush to rub this mixture all over the chicken.

Place a small onion wedge in the neck of the chicken to prevent any air from escaping.

Bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs or until the chicken is done and juices run clear.

Remove from the beer can holder and let stand for 5-10 minutes before carving.