Monday, March 28, 2011

Bird is the Word

Dinner was served promptly at 10:30 pm Saturday night; the final outcome: one juicy roasted chicken. I’ve never cooked an entire bird before, and quite frankly I was intimidated from lack of experience. From the moment I cut the chicken out from its plastic casing, my husband could hear me roaring with laughter from the upstairs room. Upon entering the kitchen, Stewart saw me squealing as I braced myself to remove the giblets from inside the chicken.

I work with raw meat all the time; but a 5 lb. naked chicken was uncharted territory in my kitchen. After the giblets were removed, it was smooth sailing from there. I was never rough in handling the chicken. Although the bird was dead, somehow I felt I was being more humane by treating it delicately.

While my chicken roasted in the oven for an hour and a half, I played one of my favorite stations on Pandora radio: Edith Piaf. It’s perfect mood music while cooking in the kitchen. And I had every intention of featuring an Edith Piaf song, until Ben E King’s “Stand by Me” began to play. Five seconds into the song, and two glasses into a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, I held my own private dancing session in the kitchen, while my husband took in March Madness upstairs.

Ina Garten’s recipe for roasted chicken is fantastic. The chicken was so tender and juicy. Perfectly cooked, I’ll be able to use the meat all week for sandwiches and other meals. But I felt the sauce itself was a little too powerful with lemon. In my opinion, just use the recipe for roasting the chicken, or only use one lemon versus two.

Engagement Roast Chicken:


1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 lemons

1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise

Good olive oil

2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce

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