Date Cooked: November 9, 2008 Page: 310 Rating: A-
My wife was returning from a weekend away and I figured what would be nicer for a Sunday dinner than to come home to a comforting roast chicken. I probably should have tried to source a whole chicken for roasting prior to making this decision. Let me tell you my story.
The book continually discusses the merits of cutting up your own chicken and so has therefore brainwashed me into thinking whole chickens are a common supermarket staple. Seems that convenience has very nearly taken over our supermarkets. It took me 4 stops at our leading grocery store chains to finally find a decent chicken for roasting. I was a little shocked. When I asked the “kid” at the first store if they had any whole chickens he was confused because they had all the parts pre-packaged on the shelf. I had to tell him I was roasting it and then he ever so helpfully suggested a turkey. Interesting, we as a society have moved to a point where a roast chicken is a novelty lower on the chain than turkey. Well I finally found a nice sized, over-priced, vacuum sealed chicken all prepped for roasting with a little plastic pop-up thermometer already embedded in the breast.
The first step in this recipe was of course to brine the chicken. I am a HUGE proponent of brining fowl. This brine required the addition of rosemary and garlic. The salt, rosemary and garlic were placed in a bag and then bludgeoned with a meat tenderizer. I didn’t have a meat tenderizer so out came the mallet. I stopped myself before I started because my youngest was having his afternoon nap… but he’s a heavy sleeper so I took the ingredients to task. Pounding the *expletive* out of the ingredients certainly was fun but I did stop myself before I turned it into a paste. It really just needed a light bruising. The mixture was dissolved in water and the chicken was rinsed and added, before being covered and placed in the fridge for an hour.
While the chicken was brining I prepped the rest of the ingredients. The chicken needed a rosemary garlic paste that would be added under the skin prior to roasting. In addition this recipe roasts potatoes in the pan while the chicken cooks. The paste was very straight forward except it used oil instead of butter so it was not really a paste. Spreading oil under the skin was really messy and most of the oil drips out and into the pan. I suppose this was good for the potatoes but definitely not good for my lungs (you’ll hear why in a second). Whole garlic cloves were also thrown in with the potatoes.
The chicken was removed from its bath. Rinsed and patted dry and then the oil paste spread under the skin. This didn’t really work all that well as most of the oil just spilled down the sides of the chicken and into the pan. The chicken was set breast side down and then placed in the oven. Within 5 minutes my house was starting to smoke. The oven was completely filled with greasy blue smoke as the oil from the paste was burning in the roasting pan. At fifteen minutes I had to remove the chicken to add the potatoes to the roasting pan and when the door opened all that smoke burst into the kitchen. I was prepared though. I had all the windows in the kitchen open by this point. Once the potatoes were in the pan the smoking subsided substantially and I was able to breathe a little easier… literally. 15 minutes later the chicken was flipped and then cooked for the remaining 20-30 minutes. I removed the chicken when I felt it was done and checked the temperature with a meat thermometer. Perfect temperature… but the pop-up temperature indicator hadn’t sprouted yet. I wasn’t placing any faith in it though since I figure they error on the side of overdone. After several minutes of resting though the indicator finally popped. The potatoes were plated along with the carved chicken (hacked into six pieces).
Rating: A- The chicken was great and full of flavor. As I will keep saying I really believe brining a chicken is worth the extra step and time. The potatoes were nicely roasted and tasted amazing. The roasted garlic though was a little overdone leaving little to spread on bread. It was a little hard but still full of garlic flavor. I will definitely roast chicken more often.
I am a husband to a loving wife that shares my same interest for food and cooking. I am a father to two sons (and a newborn son) that have an aversion to food. I'm also a pretty bad cook... which could be their problem... but I'm working on it.
I'm attempting to cook-through 'The New Best Recipe' for two reasons. I want to educate myself on the culinary arts a little and I want to provide better and hopefully more interesting meal options for my family... oh yeah plus I find food photography real exciting so it gives me a chance to justify why I take pictures of food!