thoughts on eating in and dining out in the Delaware Valley
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Roast Chicken with Herbs, Lemons and Shallots
There's something about cold weather that inspires serious cooking. Armed with a desire to spend the evening cooking and a Le Creuset I had yet to break in, I found myself attempting the quintessential non-holiday centerpiece: Roast Chicken. I started with Martha Stewart's guidance in her Cooking School book for timing, but branched off with my own ingredients. The results? Best. Chicken. Ever. I don't eat white meat (I know, I know, I'm the perfect dining companion), and I couldn't help myself from eating it here. It was that moist.
First, the ingredients:
3-4 sprigs fresh sage
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 stick butter
Small roasting chicken
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove all shallot skins, dice half of them, reserve the rest intact. Chop all of the herbs, careful to remove herbs from stems. Quarter the lemons.
I don't know how necessary this next step is, but it gave me some assurance I was giving the chicken the maximum flavor. Sautee 1/4 stick of butter with the diced shallots and about half the herbs. Salt liberally.
While those ingredients are cooking over low heat (Le Creuset tells me never to put this guy over a high open flame), prep the chicken by rinsing in cold water and drying. Then soften your butter for about 10 seconds in the microwave and much like you would butter a cake pan, butter your chicken all over and then sprinkle the rest of the herbs over the butter. If you want to get crazy (I know I did), combine the herbs and butter and insert into the pockets between the breasts and skin. Stuff the cavity with the quarted lemons (as much as possible) and remaining shallots. Drizzle lemon juice over the chicken.
So, unbeknownst to me because I am not a veteran chicken roaster, I think this is "upside down." Whatever it is, everything about this chicken was juicy and moist. I cooked it for 30 minutes uncovered, then 25 minutes covered, then 5-10 uncovered again. You want to get the internal temp (measured at the deepest part of the thigh) to 165 degrees.
But the bonus of roasting? Pan gravy topping. While the chicken is resting, put the dutch oven back on the stove and deglaze (a.k.a. add) white wine, about a cup. Cook on low/medium until reduced by half. Carve up the chicken (good luck, I struggled on this one) and pour on the pan jus. Enjoy.