Saturday, March 27, 2010

My very first roasted chicken

Lately, I've been watching a lot of Food Network while I'm at the gym. Tuesday, I caught an awesome episode of Giada De Laurentiis making a roasted chicken with spinach pasta and I decided to give it a try this weekend.

I've never actually roasted a chicken before, and with my oven being so uneven for heating, I was a little worried.

This dish relies on fresh oregano, lemons, oranges and garlic for a really fresh flavor. That was really the best part of this dish - how flavorful the chicken turned out.

One of the things that I realized at knife school is how much a cook really should be handling the meat. I gave the chicken a good wash, swished out the cavity and then played around with it a little.

Next, the orange, lemon and a bulb of garlic get cut into chunks and stuffed into the cavity of the chicken.

Lots of kosher salt and pepper inside the cavity (before loading it up with the fruit), and also patted all over the bird. I also cut a tiny slit at the other end of the skin and patted some under the skin, in hopes of really getting down into the chicken.

Set the bird breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan and roast at 400 F for one hour.

My oven is REALLY hot and fairly unpredictable. I had it at 375 F for about 40 mins and the bottom of the pan was already starting to sizzle, so I pulled it out and basted.

I poured about a cup of stock into the bottom of the pan to deglaze (you use it for a sauce later). The recipe also calls for a glaze made of orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and oregano. I brushed it on every 25 mins or so until the chicken was done.

As expected, things got a bit crispy. If I had been thinking ahead, I probably would have bought some foil to cover this for part of the roasting to help keep the skin from burning. I also ended up pulling the chicken out 20 mins before recommended, and one of the legs/thighs wasn't cooked all the way through.

Carving didn't go quite as slick as planned. I think I could stand to find a YouTube video on carving chickens. I'm sure they exist by the dozen.

The side dish to the chicken is a spinach and cheese sauce, heavy on the spinach. Giada used goat cheese, which I don't usually have around the house, so I subbed some shredded Swiss and cubed Jarlsberg. Tasted just fine!

The end results were delicious. The chicken was really tender, and I thickened the pan juices a little (extra juice squeezed from the cavity fruit wedges and strained into the mess from the pan) to make a really sweet and savory gravy.

And the pasta was really fresh and creamy tasting without being too heavy. There was extra sauce, so I'll definitely be making this again soon.

Dreaming? of my next, not-so-burnt roasted chicken

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