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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Herbs and Lemon

I taught a "Mastering Chicken" Class on Tuesday evening at The American Table, in Collingswood, NJ.  It was a variation on a class I taught years ago at Williams Sonoma, called, Chicken Chicken Chicken.  This week's class concentrated on essential techniques of roasting, pan searing, making pan sauces and an oven-frying technique that's lower fat and less messy (WAY LESS) messy than deep or pan frying.  The class was sold out and was a huge success.  The evening was a lot of fun, filled with a room-full of vivacious women.  Chatty, fun, sparkling conversations and good wines.  I haven't had a more lively and entertaining evening of teaching in a long time.  All of my classes at The American Table have positive experiences, but there was something about tonight's wild yet controlled event that was unbridled foodie fun.

I prepared three chicken recipes. The first was a variation on chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.  I've changed out a few things, cutting back on the garlic, adding in more herbs and cutting out the 1/2 cup of unneeded olive oil and the cup of wine.  It's not difficult to make a great home-roasted chicken but for whatever reason, so many people are intimated by the poulet.  Don't be a chicken! Try this recipe and know that you'll have a delicious dinner, with left-overs for the next day and still enough chicken to pick off the bones to make a wonderful Asian Chicken Salad on day 3.


Roast Chicken with Garlic, Herbs & Lemon Ingredients:

  • 1 - 4 to 6 lb Whole Chicken - giblets removed & patted dry
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet or Smoked Paprika
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1 Lemon - cut in half, Juiced & lemon halves reserved
  • 3 Celery Ribs - large dice
  • 3 Carrots - peeled & large dice
  • 2 Medium Onions - peeled & large dice
  • 3 Large Sprigs of Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Large Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Large Sprigs Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Large Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Bulb Garlic - separated but do not peel the cloves
  • 1/2  Cup White Wine, or Dry Vermouth or Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • Toasted Baguette Slices - for serving
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the giblets and innards from the chicken; pat chicken dry with paper towels (dispose of paper towels) Reserve giblets & innards for making stock or discard. Generously season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt & pepper, lift skin from breast and season underneath as well.  Sprinkle the olive oil & paprika over the top of the chicken, rubbing them into the skin.
  3. Place 2 or 3 pieces of celery, carrots & several pieces of the onion inside the chicken cavity.  Add in the reserved lemon halves, a sprig of parsley, thyme and oregano inside the chicken too. Tuck wings under chicken & tie or truss legs together.
  4. In a deep roasting pan or casserole dish, lay the rest of the celery, carrots & onions and herbs in the bottom of the pan.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables & herbs. Tuck the garlic cloves in and around and underneath the chicken. Pour lemon juice & the white wine or vermouth over the chicken. 
  5. Cover the roasting pan or casserole dish tightly, either with a tight fitting lid or heavy duty aluminum foil.  Roast the chicken in the oven, with the rack set in the middle of the oven, for 1 hour.  Then, uncover the chicken and roast for another 1/2 hour, or until the chicken is cooked throughout and thoroughly brown skinned. General cooking time for a whole chicken, bone-in is 20-25  minutes per pound.  Chicken is cooked through when a)an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone, registers 170 degrees and/or b) the juices run clear when pierced.  Roasting the chicken covered 1st will steam cook it. Uncovering it will brown it. It also eliminates the need to baste the chicken during the cooking process (unless you want to baste it!)
  6. If pan juices and liquid evaporates during the cooking time when the chicken is uncovered and is browning, add in a 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the pan.
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven when it has reached 170 degrees, and if you wish, transfer it to a platter. Loosely cover the chicken with foil and allow the chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes to allow the juices in the bird to redistribute.  Serve the chicken with the pan juices - if they seem too thin, heat the juices in a sauce pan on the stove & reduce by half. There is a lot of seasonings in the pan juices, so no need to add additional seasonings. 
  8. Serve the garlic cloves w/the toasted baguette slices, popping the garlic from their skins & spreading the softened & mellowed garlic like butter onto the bread. Serve the veggies w/the chicken. 
  9. Slice the chicken breast, take the wings, legs and thigh joints off the chicken and serve hot.  Chicken will hold, covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.  It's best to remove the chicken meat off of the carcass after 1 day, discarding the bones (or reserving the carcass to make chicken soup or stock later).  



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