BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘roast chicken

A Poached (Then Roasted) Chicken in Every Pot

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First poach the whole bird for 10 minutes.

Then roast at 450 degrees, melting the skin and rendering it oh so crispy.

Hearing Michael Ruhlman speak in defense of roasting one’s own whole chicken (a process that surprisingly stillĀ  intimidates a number of time-crunched Americans) at a foodie conference in Portland late last month made me curious to try his (ala Thomas Keller) supposedly fail-safe method for a crispy yet tender bird.

But then Dan came across this hybrid process for “the perfect roast chicken” as a recommended link on the Marginal Revolution blog, beloved by epicurean economists everywhere. So per Felicity Cloake’s advice, I found myself poaching the whole bird for 10 minutes and then firing it at Ruhlman and Keller’s recommended 450 degrees. The poaching method appealed, since I was seeking extra moist breast meat for chicken salad. My mother’s beloved tarragon chicken salad recipe, of course, says to just poach the breasts and cut up that meat. But whole free-range chickens from Draper Valley were on sale, and I’d rather have a carcass to boil down into stock anyway.

A "keeper" chicken salad: poached meat tossed with greek yogurt and mayonnaise, a little champagne vinegar, salt and pepper, rehydrated dried cherries and golden raisins, a minced shallot, two tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, chopped toasted walnuts this time instead of slivered almonds. Yum!

The secret to these roast chicken recipes? Pat the bird dry before roasting, so the skin crisps and doesn’t steam. Ruhlman and Keller forgo basting and/or covering the bird with pats of butter for that reason. I did splash some olive oil on the skin with salt but now I fear that wasn’t necessary. I also could have done a better job trussing, per Keller’s suggestions.

Roasting at 450 was 25 degrees higher than I usually go, and boy did the oven smoke as the dripping grease splattered. Do I need to self-clean my oven after this process? It’s hard to believe Judy Rodgers’ famous recipe from the Zuni Cafe calls for roasting at 480 degrees. My meat was tender, considering I bought a whopping 5.5 pound chicken, nearly double the size the pros recommend for the tenderest meat. But hey, it’s sustainable to bring them up in weight for not much more feed.

And boy was that chicken crisp, yet not 100 percent in a spots, perhaps because of the pre-poaching. But writing this makes me realize the Zuni Cafe recipe may be the way to go, with its dry salt rub in advance, now my favorite way to brine a Thanksgiving turkey. It’s about time I stopped ignoring everyone’s advice. Hey, Michael Ruhlman roasts a chicken every week. It takes practice to refine your technique.

Speaking of technique, for some reason I left covered the carcass I was boiling into stock. Duh. I guess I’ll have to now cook it down so it’s more flavorful for soup. At least I didn’t leave the cooling stock out on the stove overnight, a mistake I’ve made more than once. Stay tuned to see what kind of soup I’ll cook up this week.

Written by baltimoregon

May 3, 2010 at 1:18 am

The Pleasure of Cooking with Old Friends

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dsc02186dsc02180 There’s nothing like bonding in the kitchen with friends you have missed. I have cooked with and for my Baltimore girls since our pot-luck days at Davidson College. Thankfully, we could squeeze in a home-cooked meal together on my recent trek back to the East Coast.

We made — surprise, surprise — a whole roast chicken with that herbed salt rub. Hey, it’s an easy crowd pleaser, yet Hannah had never made one. The whole bird can be daunting, though more economical and flavorful. After dinner, we made stock with the carcass (Hannah, what soup will you make? Don’t forget the pot in Adam’s fridge.) Olive oil and rosemary potatoes roasted in the pan with the chicken.

The highlight of the meal, though, was Hannah’s Korean Asparagus (see recipe below). Barbara Kingsolver made me feel guilty about eating them out of season, but California-grown ones were on sale, and we couldn’t resist the recipe. Now we know what to make when the elegant green spears grace our farmers markets in a month. Smelly pee, here we come! I liked the tangy Korean marinade so much I served it over lighty cooked broccoli and carrots, over rice, tonight.

Here’s the Korean asparagus recipe (from Madhur Jaffrey, I believe)

1.5 lbs asparagus
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 smashed clove of garlic
Shave the ends of the spears if the asparagus is thick.

Soak the asparagus in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the dressing ingredients.
Boil the asparagus for about two minutes.
Drain and run under cold water.
Remove the garlic clove from the dressing (if you want) before pouring it over the asparagus and mixing.
And then for dessert, we ate our fists. I miss the friends I can be this silly with:(

Written by baltimoregon

March 17, 2009 at 12:55 am

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