Friday, January 25, 2013

Simple Roast Chicken Cooked at High Heat

A cold day calls for a really hot oven to help keep you toasty and warm. And what sounds better than a Roast Chicken for dinner?

Adapted from Roasting: A Simple Art (William Morrow, 1995)

Serves 2 to 4

5- to 6-pound chicken at room temperature, wing tips removed
1 lemon, halved
4 whole garlic cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken stock, water, fruit juice, or wine for optional deglazing

1. Place rack on second level from bottom of oven. Heat oven to 500°F (or for convection, reduce to 450°F).

2. Remove the fat from the tail and crop end of the chicken. Freeze the neck for stock.

3. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon, garlic, and butter, if using. Season the cavity and skin with salt and pepper.

4. Place the chicken in a 12 x 8 x 1 1/2-inch roasting pan breast side up. Put in the oven legs first and roast 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear. After the first 10 minutes, move the chicken with a wooden spoon or spatula to keep it from sticking.

5. Remove the chicken to a platter by placing a large wooden spoon into the tail end and balancing the chicken with a kitchen spoon pressed against the crop end. As you lift the chicken, carefully tilt it over the roasting pan so that all the juices run out and into the pan.

6. Optional: Pour off or spoon out excess fat from the roasting pan and put the roasting pan on top of the stove. Add the stock or other liquid and bring the contents of the pan to a boil, while scraping the bottom vigorously with a wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Serve the sauce over the chicken or, for crisp skin, in a sauceboat.

Photo by Nicole Franzen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

January is the perfect month to make this hearty, Italian chicken dish. Hopefully you still have some canned heirloom tomatoes left in your pantry and a Browder's Bird in the freezer to really make it special!

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 3 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup white wine
1 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups rich chicken stock

Heat half the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly colored, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, continuing to stir, for about 2 minutes more. Remove onions from pan and reserve. Add remaining oil to pan and over moderately high heat brown the chicken on all sides, about 6 minutes.

Add onions back to pan then add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes. Chop the tomatoes reserving the juice and add to chicken. Stir in reserved juice, bay leaf, rosemary and fennel seed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, gradually adding chicken stock as tomato juice evaporates, for 45 minutes until chicken is tender. Correct seasoning and stir in parsley and serve with steamed potatoes or white rice.

John Ash © 2012