In which I may have found a winner…

Remember how I roasted a lot of chickens last year and I thought I would do some kind of project to figure out the best one and then I decided they were all pretty awesome and I gave up trying to find the best? Remember that? Well, I may have given up one chicken too soon.

It’s a football Sunday with out my Pats. So I find myself rooting for the Steelers? I guess? I don’t know. The Jets are Satan, you can’t root for Satan. I thought I was rooting for the Packers, but then Chicago made a run with a third string quarterback, so I shifted my loyalties there only to be disappointed…whatever, pretty much I don’t care. My house smells great, and that’s all that matters.

Today I made bread and chicken. I can’t think of anything on earth that makes your kitchen smell better than baking bread and roasting a chicken. It’s oven nirvana over here. The bread was the no knead variety. I shared my no knead experience with you before. This was another success.

Oh my

Please, if you are a nervous baker, or you are unsure of yourself in the kitchen, please make this. You really can’t go wrong, and pulling this beauty out of your oven will make you gleeful and proud and confident. I’m not sure why I haven’t been making this every weekend.

Another thing that couldn’t be easier and impresses people like nobody’s business? Roasting a chicken. Any which way you do it is pretty awesome. And this particular method is fantastic. And if you are skeptical that one roasted chicken (this one) could be so much better than others (all the rest) I will let you in on the secret. This would be Thomas Keller’s roasted chicken. So…

There were a couple more steps than normal, but mostly crazy easy. I did leave it uncovered in the fridge for a couple days. It dries out the skin so it gets super crispy as it cooks. TK also suggests trussing the bird. This is not a step I usually bother with, but if TK is telling me to, I figured I would give it a shot. First I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and stuffed it with garlic and thyme. And then I trussed. It was an easy truss. I will show you.

First, I tucked the wing tips underneath and looped the twine under the back of the chicken with the drumsticks pointing towards me.

Step 1

Then I pulled the twine tight and tied it to plump up the breasts. Heh.

Step 2: Chicken push up bra

Then I looped the twine underneath the tips of the drumsticks.

Step 3

And then you pull the twine tight and tie a knot. That’s it!

Ta-da! Trussed

The chicken roasts on a bed of vegetables. In my case, small potatoes, leeks, onion, parsnips, carrots and garlic. Those, some thyme, salt and pepper went in the cast iron with a little bit of canola oil. TK suggests rutabagas and turnips and leaves out the parsnips. Those did not sound appealing to me.

veggies

The chicken goes right on top and roasts at high temps for a little over an hour. Then chicken, glorious chicken.

crispy and juicy and delicious

And the veggies are so good. The chicken rests for 20 minutes, and right before you are ready to carve and serve, you turn the heat on under the veggies and toss them in the fat and juices. Awesome.

eat your veggies

This is so easy, and really perfect for a Sunday in the winter. Especially if there’s snow.

Thoughts for the day:

1. Yesterday was my bro’s 3oth birthday. That’s just crazy. Happy Birthday KT

2. There is MORE snow. This is nuts. Apparently we’ve had a snowier first couple of months of winter than the first months of the snowiest of all the snowy winters in the world (by world I mean Boston, obvs) or something like that. A lot.

3. Current song on repeat for me: “Don’t Carry It All” from the new Decemberists album. I love that guy’s voice.

4. I NEED to own this dress. But the problem is, besides needing to own it, I don’t really need to own it. Nothing that I need it for and not in my budget. Perhaps both of those things will change while the dress is still available? A girl can dream. And actually, it’s probably ok, because I am not sure I could decide between the navy and the orange. Because the navy! So cute! Sort of nautical! But the orange! With a tan? Could you imagine? Clearly it’s for the best. But with wedges? SO CUTE.

5. I would like someone to come up with a rule that it is ok to wear sequins everyday. I have a sequins skirt, and if I could wear it every day, like to the office and stuff, that would be great. Awesome, actually. But, seeing how easily distracted I am by shiny stuff, this rule should maybe only apply to me, because otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done.

6. Remember how I told you 2011 was pretty miz so far? I came up with a GREAT plan. Chinese New Year. It’s next week and I am celebrating it. There is going to be a feast. Welcome Year of the Rabbit. Maybe it wasn’t 2010/beginning of 2011 that was so craptastic (and yet occsaisonally awesome) maybe it was the Year of the Tiger that did me wrong. The timing makes sense.

7. I found a recipe for Homemade Samoas (aka Caramel de-Lites.) Are. You. Kidding. Me. Guess what I am making as soon as I have a minute?

8. Oprah has a sister. That is maybe the luckiest twist of fate ever. Could you imagine if you were just hanging around your living room one day and you discovered you were OPRAH’S SISTER? It’s not like a want to trade sisters, I love my sisters, but if Oprah was an additional sister, I would not complain. I bet new sister gets to go to the taping of her “Favorite Things” episode.

9. I started Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I got a little distracted and skipped a day, but going forward if I can’t figure out how to get this done every day I am a total loser. It is only 22 minutes and involves nothing even remotely complicated (difficult, yes, complicated, no.)

10. I apologize for my non food related post rambling…these things are getting weirder and weirder.

I am printing this recipe just like TK instructed, but as I mentioned, I switched up some of the vegetables.

Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken (serves 4 or 2 with delish leftovers.)

from Ad Hoc at Home

One 4 to 4 1/2 lb chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

6 thyme sprigs

2 large leeks

3 tennis-ball-sized rutabagas

2 tennis-ball-sized turnips

4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half

1 small yellow onion, trimed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters

8 small (golf-ball-sized) red-skinned potatoes

1/3 cup canola oil

4 tbls (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Using a paring knife, cut out the wishbone from the chicken. (This will make it easier to carve the chicken, but is totally optional.) Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken.

Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks. Trim off and discard the darkened outer layers. Trim the root ends, cutting around them on a 45-degree angle. Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting 1/2 inch above the root ends. Rinse the leeks well under warm water. Cut off both ends of the rutabagas. Stand the rutabagas on end and cut away the skin, working from top to bottom and removing any tough outer layers. Cut into 3/4-inch wedges. Repeat with the turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas. Combine all the vegetables and remaining garlic cloves and thyme sprig in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a large cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan. Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper. Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it. Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken breast.

Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 F in the meatiest portions of the bird–the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast–and the juices run clear. If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glazing them with the pan juices.

Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and serve.

Happiness is a warm plate...

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One thought on “In which I may have found a winner…

  1. This roast chicken looks amazing, although I am partial to Eric Ripert’s stuffed roast chicken.

    You’d look fab in that dress celebrating Chinese New Year with you sister, Oprah 🙂

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