Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A roast chicken to make the angels weep

First off, a disclaimer: I did not invent this. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa did. But boy, did she do good. First, you need to get a good chicken, and that's getting harder and harder, since they have NO fat on them and roast up dry and stringy as shoelaces. The local Food Lion had an all-natural whole chicken, no growth hormones, no chemical supplements, no additives, no antibiotics, vegetable and grain fed. It was the best chicken I've bought in a long time and it deserved to be treated well.

And it's easy-peasy. Get a couple of lemons and a head of garlic. Slice the lemons in half. Slice the garlic head in half along the circumference, so you can see the halves of all the cloves. Wait, you say, that's a LOT of garlic. Yes, it is, but don't worry.

Stuff the lemon halves and the garlic head in the chicken, as much of it as will fit. Leave out a half a lemon if it's tight. You can also stuff in some fresh sage if you have it, but I never do and I don't miss it. Rub the softened butter on the skin of the chicken. Truss the bird, place in a v-rack in a roasting pan and roast at 425 degrees until 185 degrees in the thigh meat. I have experimented with starting the roasting upside down, and flipping it halfway through to crisp the breast skin. That way, you get browned, crisp skin all over and the thigh meat is exposed to the heat and cooks faster, lessening the danger of drying out the white meat.

That's it. Really. No salt, no pepper, no fancy seasonings. It's great.

And if you cook a pot of green beans with ham for seasoning, like I did, and make some mashed potatoes, what oh what more would you need?

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