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Archive for the ‘roast chicken’ Category

Barefoot Roast Chicken

Ok, all chickens are barefoot, roasted or otherwise. The “Barefoot” I’m referring to here is the Contessa one, Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, who hosts the popular Food Network show. I used to watch her show, then I quit for a while, now I’m watching it again. I’ve also read most of her cookbooks and taken from them recipes that look like something I might actually prepare. 

I have so many recipes clipped/copied from various sources – thousands, I dare say. Every now and then I go through my files and look at a particular recipe and think “Who am I kidding? I will never fix this.” I can usually get rid of one third of them. I also find some duplicates, or near duplicates. Still, I have too many to use effectively. I guess it’s some kind of foodie addiction, this incessant searching for and collecting recipes. Luckily for me and my family, it’s not a harmful addiction. I don’t force feed anyone.

Be that as it may, I bought a roasting chicken yesterday and am cooking it right now. Last week, I tried Thomas Keller’s “favorite” roasted chicken from Epicurious.com. It was fine and you can find it here.  I wanted to try something different and the Barefoot one uses lots of vegetables as an edible rack upon which to cook the bird. That’s always good. That way there are lots of very tasty veggies cooked in the drippings. 

Here’s the recipe, or at least the way I fixed it. You can find the official one at the Food Network website.

Barefoot Contessa and Morgana’s Roast Chicken

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch of fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

2 T. butter, melted

1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced

4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 fennel bulb, tops removed and cut into wedges

Olive oil

 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Remove giblets and neck if present in chicken cavity. Rinse the chicken with running water inside and out. Check for excess fat and pinfeathers and remove them. Pat the chicken dry on the outside.

3. Liberally salt and pepper the inside cavity.

4. Stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, and the garlic and the bunch of thyme.

5. Brush the outside of the chicken with the melted butter and season with the salt and pepper.

6. Truss the chicken legs and tuck the little wing tips under the chicken’s body. 

7. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel (I added a cut-up parsnip ’cause I had a lonely one handly) in the bottom of the roasting pan. Toss with salt and pepper, the 20 sprigs of thyme (I only had a few) and a little olive oil. Place the chicken  on top of the vegetables.

8. Roast for one and a half hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the bird and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil for about 20 minutes. Slice up the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

UPDATE:

Here’s how I finished the dish. While the chicken was resting, I poured the pan drippings into another container and removed as much of the fat as possible. Then I added about 1/4 c. white wine to the pan and scraped up the little goodies on the bottom, those caramelized bits of chicken, carrots, and the rest of the veggies. Over medium heat, returned the drippings and some chicken broth (saved from a previous dinner) and a little splash of cream.  I drizzled this over the veggies and chicken when they were served next to mashed potatoes which were ready just in time.

It’s trash day tomorrow so I went ahead and removed the remaining chicken from the bone and will decide what to do with it tomorrow. I’m way too full and tired to think of it now. I know I’ll be glad I took care of that little chore right away. I can get rid of the carcass immediately. I hate to keep chicken bones in the freezer. I’m not always prepared to make broth each time I have chicken. I would love to be able to have a ready supply. Oh well. Dream on.

Any suggestions?

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I used Thomas Keller’s recipe for roasting a chicken Monday night. It’s a high-heat-no-basting-leave-it- alone-kind of recipe that appealed to me. I found it at Epicurious. It was highly rated by those who read and tried the recipe so I decided it was worth giving it a go. It’s not much different than any other high heat roasting instructions but I found some of the comments in the ratings section interesting.

Several people warned that the recipe would set off all of the smoke alarms in the house.  I followed the suggestions of more than a few reviewers that a layer of sliced potatoes under the chicken would soak up the drippings and prevent smoke. That did the trick. I included a few slices of onions with the potatoes and had a bonus of crispy, chicken flavored potatoes and onions. I also had a layer of nonstick foil under the potatoes to make cleanup easier. 

Here’s the basic recipe:

Wash and dry the chicken, inside and out.  (Let’s hear it for paper towels!) Season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Truss the chicken to keep a nice shape that cooks more evenly without overcooking the wings and legs. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with lots of salt. I found that the dried skin repelled the larger Kosher salt crystals, so I used table salt which stuck a little better. If you lightly rubbed the skin with oil or butter the salt would adhere. Then sprinkle with pepper to taste.

I placed my chicken on a rack over the aforementioned foil, potatoes and onions. Next, the chicken went into a 450 degree F. oven until done. Keller suggests 50-60 minutes, with a 15 minute resting period once removed from the oven. My chicken was slightly larger than the 2-3 lb bird he recommends in the recipe. It took significantly longer for mine to be done, about another 15 minutes in the oven. After resting, it was nice and juicy.

While the chicken was cooking and resting, I made mashed potatoes. When I took the chicken out of the oven, I scraped off the layer of onion and potato slices from the foil on the bottom of the roasting pan, gave them a quick chop or two and mixed them into my mashed potatoes. That was a delicious addition, let me tell you, and the caramelized onions and crispy chunks of potatoes added some textural interest as well. Let’s hear it for textural interest!

We had about 2 cups of chicken leftover after we picked the meat off the carcass. Last night I used it in a quick chicken divan casserole. I have a different chicken divan recipe for you to consider  here .

The one I used last night was a little simpler. I steamed some broccoli florets and made a quick mornay sauce with a little gruyere, white wine and nutmeg for flavor. I layered the broccoli, half of the sauce, the chicken and the rest of the sauce. Then a topped it with about 1/4 c. grated parmesan. It baked in the oven for about 25 minutes at 350, just until the top was starting to get golden brown. The recipe for that is at the bottom of this post.

I had planned to make chicken salad with the remains, but, having a cold, I didn’t want to handle all the fresh ingredients and risk sneezing or coughing all over food that wasn’t going to be cooked later. For that reason, I let my husband unload the dishwasher for me and set the table. That’s about the only benefit of having a cold. 

EASIER CHICKEN DIVAN

1 1/2 c. cooked broccoli florets

1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked chicken, diced

1/2 – 3/4 c. shredded gruyere or swiss cheese

3 T. butter

3 T. flour

1 c. milk or cream

1/2 c. chicken broth

2 T. white wine

1/4 t. nutmeg

salt and pepper

1/4 c. grated parmesan

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray an 11 X 7 or 9 x 9 baking dish or gratin dish with the same capacity.

2. In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two to cook the flour. Then add the 2 T. white wine and the chicken broth and stir to  mix well. Add the milk and whisk until all lumps are gone and the sauce begins to thicken. (If the sauce is too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of milk or cream.) Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Season with the nutmeg, and the salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the gruyere or swiss cheese and stir to melt the cheese.

4. Put the broccoli in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour about half of the sauce over the broccoli and then add the chicken evenly over the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken and then sprinkle with the Parmesan.

5. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the top starts to become golden brown.

 

I hope you try one of the two Chicken Divan recipes and, by all means, roast a chicken. It’s one of the true values in the grocery. 

 

 

 

 

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