Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Roast a Chicken

I had several excuses of why I shouldn't roast the chicken. Besides, the "I'm terrified" excuse, I also end up eating lunch at 4:00. Why make dinner when I ate so late? Then I remembered that the important thing here was the trial run of Sunday's dinner so I poured some wine and faced my opponent.

After a half glass of wine, I was ready to tackle the project. The first baffling direction was to use a head of garlic, cut horizontally. I reread it a few times, eyed the garlic and then did my best to not cut off my fingers. Success.

Next I had to cut two slices of baguette and put them in the bottom of the pan. This would serve as the roasting rack.

There was no time for introduction and before I knew I was rubbing salt and pepper generously on the outside AND inside of the chicken. After the initial,"ewww," I got over it. To keep things sanitary, I poured some salt and pepper into a prep bowl for easy access. This was fine until I accidentally dumped the prep bowl on our newly cleaned hardwood floors. Sigh. I really try to keep the kitchen clean despite what Manatee thinks.

The recipe also mentioned that if the liver was included, to stick the liver of the chicken inside the chicken. So, I don't really know if there was a liver. Not really sure how to identify a chicken liver. I didn't take anything off of it, so I think I am good there. Liver or no liver, I got through that step. After jamming some fresh herbs and the bizarro half head of garlic into the chicken, I was ready to get it cooking.

Then came the frantic phone call to my mother. Do I use the cover of the Dutch oven or leave it uncovered? She advised covering it so I set up the oven so that I can monitor the handle of the Dutch oven. I am not worried as much about the chicken as my handle melting off and starting a house fire. Then of course, having to explain to Manatee when he gets home from his business trip how I managed to burn down the house in his absence.

Chicken is cooking..
The beauty of this recipe is that you let it cook for 90 minutes, uninterrupted. As it was cooking, I realized I had no idea what to do with the chicken after I took it out of the oven. I knew I let it rest for 5-10 minutes, but after that, I didn't know how to cut a whole chicken! Good thing this was a test run. Second frantic call to my mother was not helpful. "But you've bought rotisserie chickens?" I protested. "Rotisserie chickens just fall apart when you touch them." Not helpful mom, not helpful at all.

And Voila!

Golden, succulent roasted chicken. Success! After almost dropping it on the ground and discovering you really need two people for the transfer, I got the chicken on a makeshift platter. Notice there are no pictures of chicken post-cutting? It wasn't pretty. Will need to research carving a roast chicken before Sunday.
 Now Dorie promised that the bread from under the chicken would be the best part. 

And it was. I couldn't wait to try it as you can see from the picture. I didn't even need chicken after that! It soaked in chicken juices, wine, garlic. Heaven! 

I know I said I didn't need the chicken but I was really curious. Also, a dinner of bread soaked with chicken goodness probably wasn't the healthiest fare. So I sat down at 8:30 and had my trial dinner. While the chicken was cooking, I made some smashed fingerling potatoes and roasted mushrooms (recipe and post to come). As always, I finished the meal off with a spinach salad and my favorite dressing. It's going to be a great Mother's Day feast. 

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