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December 2013 Cookbook of the Month, ALL ABOUT ROASTING by Molly Stevens: Chicken & Poultry

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from ALL ABOUT ROASTING by Molly Stevens

Chicken & Poultry, pages 251-375

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  1. Basic (Roast Turkey) with Gravy, pg. 338

    We used our own preferred method for the turkey itself, but always open to new gravy recipes we gave MS's version a whirl, and were very pleased with the results.

    First make a very rich turkey broth--5 lbs of necks, roasted for an hour, are transferred to a stockpot, de-glaze the roasting pan with 2 cups water, add to stockpot, add reserved giblets, less liver, add enough water to cover--about 8 cups--bring to a boil, skim, and add a carrot,an onion, a celery stalk, bay leaf, salt & peppercorns, simmer for three hours. Strain and refrigerate.

    This really makes a lovely broth, as it should with a 5+ lbs meat to 10 C water ratio. Although we both love liver, I do think MS is right, leaving it out of the stock makes for a much smoother flavor profile and clearer stock.

    When the turkey comes out of the oven, remove the bird from the pan, and pour the drippings into a measuring cup (we use a separator). Reserve some of the fat from the drippings to make the roux. Meanwhile de-glaze the roasting pan with brandy or wine, and then add back the de-greased drippings and some of the stock to the roasting pan. in another pan make a roux with reserved fat and flour, add in the liquid from the roasting pan, and an additional 3 cups of warmed stock. All in all one of the best turkey gravies we've ever made--rich yet smooth and plenty flavorful.

    1. Basic Roasted Cornish Game Hens
      page 330

      the recipe is simple and clearly written
      there is interesting note on page 332 on Some Colorful Cornish Game Hen History (and Shopping Note)

      1. Ginger Roast Chicken and Elbow Macaroni with Tomatoes and Pan Sauce, page 283
        http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/...

        My first recipe from this book and my first COTM report in a long, long time and I have to say...I'm crushed. My husband gave this dish a 3 out of 10. :(

        Basically, you rub a slurry of grated ginger, olive oil, salt (and maybe pepper, can't remember), under the skin of the breast and thighs. Rub it all over with olive oil, S&P and let it infuse for a minimum of 2 hours. (I did the minimum.) Squeeze the juice of one lemon all over, then pop it in the oven breast up, legs to the back.

        After (I think) 25 minutes, pour some dry white wine over the chicken.

        In the meantime, cook some macaroni noodles to al dente. And cook up some fresh grated ginger, minced garlic and a pinch of salt until fragrant, then add a can of tomatoes (you can also use fresh, but it's not a good time of year here for that) then simmer until it reduces some and a couple of bits caramelize.

        Pour the tomato sauce into the noodles. When the chicken is done, pick it up with tongs and tip it so that the juices pour into the roasting pan. Carve the chicken (after proper resting of course), capturing the juices. Put all of the pan and carving juices into the macaroni.

        What I forgot: at the end, you're suppose to add from fresh basil or parsley. I forgot it, even though I had it. :( Also, you're supposed to roast the giblets along with the bird, but mine seemed to be all liver, which she said to discard.

        The other thing I did was put the chicken and pasta in the fridge overnight (I cooked this last night), then heated it up in the microwave for dinner tonight.

        It was utterly ordinary. Maybe I lost something valuable by not serving it directly out of the oven. I can't imagine the missing parsley was the crucial factor, but I suppose it could have been. Even the giblets didn't seem to be mandatory: in the recipe she called for a whole chicken "preferably" with giblets.

        It wasn't awful by any means, but I probably won't repeat it. I mean, all of the drippings, a glass of wine, a tablespoon+ of ginger, and the juice of a lemon went into it, how could it not be amazing? But, it just wasn't. :'( My husband, who is kind of an ingredient savant, couldn't even detect a hint of ginger in the dish.

        Would be interested in hearing from someone who serves this hot out of the oven and remembers the fresh herbs. I could have let the chicken sit longer, but I did do at least the minimum and I could have done the giblets, but that wasn't strictly required. The only two violations were that I forgot the herbs and I waited until the next day to serve it.

        Sorry, no pics. It was perfectly lovely.

        ~TDQ

        10 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Oh man, sorry to hear this. Could *you* taste the ginger in it? I'm with you - can't imagine the lack of parsley would be a deal breaker. I looked at this recipe and remembered how for me, tomatoes and ginger somehow don't meld, so I decided not to put it on my list. Still and all, I too would like to hear how it works for others.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Only if I ate the skin of the chicken specifically could I taste the ginger. There was a very subtle heat, if I could describe it that way, to the macaroni.

            I'm beginning to wonder if I didn't use a good enough quality chicken. I used an Amish-raised chicken, which seems like a good choice, but maybe I needed a different chicken? Or, now that I think about it, maybe my chicken was too big and for the size of the chicken I should have increased the amount of ginger? Gosh, I don't know. That's why I'm curious to see how someone else fares with this dish.

            ~TDQ

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            Oh, that's too bad! I was interested in this one also. I still may try it, though not this week as we're still working our way through our turkey leftovers.

            1. re: Westminstress

              I would love a second opinion on this one!

              ~TDQ

            2. re: The Dairy Queen

              Sorry to hear this was a disappointment, TDQ. I have this one flagged as anything with elbow macaroni can't be too much of a fail for my kids. I will be sure to report back if I make it. Any advice on how to tweak? I might try with thighs instead of a whole chicken since we are a dark meat family.

              1. re: greeneggsnham

                I'm sure chicken thighs would be good. I, too, love chicken thighs. It could be quite the production to get the ginger slurry under the skins, though. Maybe let it rest with the ginger slurry longer than the 2 hour minimum? And don't forget the parsley!

                I'm not saying it was an awful dish, but it was way, way oversold in the head notes.

                ""This is what I call a sleeper recipe. At first glance it doesn’t look like much — a whole chicken rubbed with a little fresh ginger, roasted, and served alongside elbow macaroni tossed with diced tomatoes and the roasting juices. Exactly what makes this dish so remarkable is hard to pinpoint, but there’s a wonderful alchemy that occurs when the chicken, ginger, and tomato all come together. It’s comforting, a little exotic, and truly delicious. "

                To me, it was a pretty ordinary chicken and pasta dish. Fine, but not "remarkable" or "exotic". No "alchemy" of any kind. I was expecting something where the sum of the parts were greater than the whole.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  The head notes are pretty effusive, huh? That's part of what drew me to the dish. I ended up going with a different recipe for my chicken thighs (reviewed below) but I am still planning on trying this one. I will probably leave the ginger slurry on overnight, as you suggest. We'll see if that makes a difference.

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Ginger Roast Chicken and Elbow Macaroni with Tomatoes and Pan Sauce, page 283

                So, I finally made this and while not as disappointing as TDQ's experience, it didn't knock my socks off either. I used 3 lbs bone-in, skin on thighs instead of a whole chicken and I did the ginger paste the night before, so it was marinating for 20 hours or so.

                My thighs produced a tremendous amount of drippings, particularly when supplemented with the wine. Adding all this chickeny goodness to the tomato sauce made the tomato sauce the star of the show. I am not typically a big fan of the ginger-tomato combo, but the tomatoes with ginger, garlic, wine and chicken drippings did make a really delicious sauce for the noodles.

                Unfortunately, the chicken itself did not absorb much ginger flavor and did not seem to mesh particularly well with the noodles and sauce. The chicken wasn't bad, but it just seemed like roasted chicken thighs. And to me roast chicken and noodles with tomato sauce are not necessarily a natural pairing.

                I served this with blasted broccoli, which made a nice pairing. Oh, and looking at TDQ's post above, I realize i forgot the herbs as well. So it is still possible, that that's the key to the dish's alchemy!

                In the end, glad I tried it, but probably won't repeat it. I may however supplement tomato sauce with chicken dripping again if I happen to be doing both roast chicken and tomato sauce at the same time.

                1. re: greeneggsnham

                  Thanks for taking one for the team! This one is now officially off my list.....

                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                    Aw, too bad. I wished it had been better for you. Oh well, at least I know it isn't "me."

                    ~TDQ

                2. Roasted Chicken Pieces with Apricots, Olives, and Orange

                  I don't have the book but used the recipe from this website provided by BigSal (thank you!)
                  http://www.sweetpotatoandbacon.com/20...
                  Chicken pieces marinate in red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, paprika, oregano, orange zest, orange slices, green olives, black olives, s&p. Then roast the whole lot.

                  We have a winner! This recipe was delicious. The orange slices release their juices during the roasting so it has a great citrusy taste and smell. The dried apricots plump up from the juices. The chicken was tender from the marinade (I did 7 hours, you can do up to 24). The only change I made was to use green olives that were stuffed with garlic. The recipe did not call for any garlic but I thought it would be good with a savory/sweet dish - and it was.
                  Also, be aware that it really takes more than an hour to roast at 375 degrees (recipe said 40-45 minutes which was not sufficient for my oven).
                  I served with Brussels sprout recipe from Molly Stevens - also very good (I will write up in vegetable thread) - and couscous.

                   
                   
                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodcompletesme

                    Roasted Chicken Pieces w Apricots, Olives, Orange, Pg.304

                    "We have a winner!", to quote Foodcompletesme, and we agree. We used 4 whole legs that we separated into drums and thighs, included the hot paprika in the marinade along with a mix of picholine and Kalamata olives, everything else as written. The chicken marinated for 24 hours and was absolutely delicious when finished roasting. If I recall correctly, I think the total time for roasting was 45-50 minutes to produce tender juicy chicken with crisp skin, the meat infused with the luscious marinade.

                    The picture in the link above shows more sauce than we had, plus our apricots didn't look as raw, if you will, as those pictured. We used organic dried Turkish apricots from Trader Joe's. Nevertheless, the finished dish was wonderful. We also served steamed Jasmine rice, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts from the book.

                    1. re: foodcompletesme

                      Roasted Chicken Pieces with Apricots, Olives, and Orange, p. 304

                      This was a nice twist on the typical North African flavors, with the sweet/sour of the vinegar and honey, plus oregano and smoked paprika (as Stevens suggests). I enjoyed effect of the roasted oranges and their juices mingled with the marinade and juices of the roasted chicken, and I love the marinating of the oranges, olives, and apricots with the chicken - definitely enhanced the whole. My four thighs were done in the time indicated, by my oven is convection and fast generally. Served on a bed of baby spinach, drizzled with the modest pan juices.

                       
                       
                    2. Green Salad with A Vinaigrette Made from Pan Drippings, 268

                      This is the salad that is served with the Basic Roast Chicken recipe on page 263. It makes a good all-purpose dressing as well. I served it with MS's Basic Roast Sausages, page 248. The greens mix I used was romaine, red leaf, and bibb lettuces. Chopped vine tomatoes and steamed cauliflower were in the salad too. The vinaigrette consists of: minced shallots, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, S & P, and pan drippings but I used the optional EVOO. I put all the ingredients into a jar, covered it tightly and shook the jar till everything was emulsified. I find this works much better than whisking.

                      This is a fine vinaigrette. The shallots and Dijon combine beautifully with red wine vinegar giving the salad a pleasant mellow tang. Since we like salads I will use it frequently this month. I prefer to make all the little accompaniments to a main dish directly from the current. COTM if possible.

                      1. Garlicky Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Herbs, pg 315.

                        Another winner! I am becoming a believer in the magic of the pre-salting method. This dish starts with preparing a garlic, salt and evoo paste which is rubbed on the chicken thighs ahead of time. (Aleppo pepper is also called for, which I'm sure would be great, but I omitted for my spice averse little ones). I prepared this the night before and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 hours prior to roasting.

                        When ready to prepare, you take out the chicken while preheating the oven to high heat (425 convection in my case). You slice lemons and make a little throne for each chicken thigh with a lemon slice, a sprig of rosemary or thyme, and then the thigh. I actually used half orange slices and half lemon, in part because I had an over the hill orange that needed using and also because I thought the kids would like orange better. I went with thyme for my herb.

                        This is roasted for 30 to 40 minutes until done. I had to turn my heat down at 25 minutes or so, because my drippings were starting to really burn, perhaps in part because of the sugar from the orange juice. My (relatively small) thighs were done in 30 minutes.

                        This dish was delicious. The thigh meat was juicy and really well seasoned with the garlic coming through in every bite. I thought the citrus and herb flavor was more subtle, and was more pronounced in the bottom part of the thigh which had been resting on the "throne." The skin was perfect, bronze and crispy and delicious. This smelled absolutely heavenly while roasting and the taste did not disappoint. A definite repeat for me. I served with simple sauteed red chard, buttered noodles and frozen sweet corn.

                        I am really liking my results from this book so far! I am also so pleased with the way a lot of the recipes can be prepped in advance with only relatively minimal prep at cooking time. This was a weeknight doable dish (with some prep the night before) which delivered huge flavor.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          Orange slices sound like a nice alternative. The recipe sounds a lot like this recipe from 150 Best American Recipes, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820694, which was a hit with a lot of us. There are so many combinations of citrus and herbs which can be used.

                          1. re: qianning

                            I thought of that recipe immediately too. I really love that one - can't see how it could be improved on.

                          2. re: greeneggsnham

                            I made this tonight and agree it is delicious - worth the trip to Penzey's for Aleppo pepper! I also prepped the chicken with the garlic paste the night before, so it had marinated for about 24 hours. I used thyme rather than rosemary since I had some on hand, but agree the taste was very subtle. I didn't drizzle the pan juices over the chicken to serve, as they were mostly burned (so glad I lined the pan with foil!), but I don't think the chicken needed it. It was very juicy, and the skin was very crispy. My husband loved it. I will make this again.

                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                              This was the first recipe I was able to try from this book and I enthusiastically agree that it was a winner! Perfect for this time of the year as it is quickly prepped the night before (as mentioned by greeneggsnham), and, in my case, also provided delicious leftovers as I roasted nine large thighs. Maybe it was because I roasted so many that I was able to have enough pan juices to drizzle over the crispy meat.

                            2. Thai-Style Roast Chicken Parts with Lemongrass, Red Peppers, and Shiitakes, p. 298

                              This was a winner. Easy to make, delicious, and full of flavor. It begins with making a spice paste in a blender or mini food processor from cilantro, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, serrano chile (seeds and all for me), fish sauce, brown sugar, and oil. Half of this goes on chicken parts, which then marinate in the fridge from 4 to 24 hours (mine just got the minimum of 4). To cook, fresh shiitake mushroom caps, quartered or halved, and strips of red pepper are tossed with the remaining spice paste and some oil and spread in a baking pan with the chicken nestled on top. Roast, stirring the vegetables around after 20 minutes, until the chicken is done. Let it rest a few minutes, stir the pan juices through the vegetables, serve. The result is moist chicken with crisp skin, and the whole suffused with lively flavors and a bit of heat. My one note is that I used the full amount of vegetables and spice paste, but only three bone-in thighs weighing 1.25 lbs, and it all seemed to work out right, so if you use the full amount of chicken parts called for, I'd recommend increasing the spice paste by half.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Really glad to hear this (especially after reading about your salmon fiasco); I'm hoping to make this one in the next week or so. Will use your tip about increasing the spice paste.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Fiasco is really the apt word! It was good to have a bit of a redemptive experience after the kind-of-depressing one. Yes, definitely increase the paste. I think this dish is one that will go over well chez LLM, knowing your family's tastes.

                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Thai-style Roast Chicken Parts....

                                  I made this last night using 2 lbs of bone-in thighs (6 thighs) and adding baby broccoli in addition to the called for red peppers and shiitakes. I agree with Caitlin, it is a winner! I made the spice paste the night before and let the chicken marinate in the spice paste overnight, which made for a quick weeknight prep. You are supposed to divide the spice paste in half and use half for the chicken, reserving the other half for the veggies. I skimmed over that part and just poured all the spice paste on the chicken. It seemed to work out okay, as the veggies picked up the flavors after having the marinated chicken roasting on top of them. The shiitakes in particular, were amazingly flavorful from this prep. I though baby broccoli was a nice addition to add a bit more veggie matter to the meal.

                                  In the end, I thought the meal was very good, especially for the ease of prep. The chicken smelled great as it roasted and roasting time was time when I could be reading storied to my kids instead of harried in the kitchen. My chicken skin did not get as crisp as I might hope, but perhaps that's because it was wetter than it should have been with the excess spice paste. I think this basic format could easily be tweaked with different Asian flavor to vary it up a bit. Lemongrass is something I don't always have on hand, and I was thinking you could probably easily leave it out and sub in some lime zest with good results.

                                  I served this with steamed rice and it will be a repeat for our weeknight rotation.

                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                    I have recently discovered that my Asian market stocks frozen, chopped lemongrass! If you have such a store nearby, keeping a bag of prepped and frozen lemongrass in your freezer might be helpful.

                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                      Happy to read another rave about this. I'm serving it to a guest on Monday night. Planned on making rice to go with, but am contemplating a baguette. Assume right will be more right with this though. Any thoughts? Baguette would be so easy (and we have a great source near my morning pilates class that day).

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        I personally think rice is a better fit, but baguette would not be out of place. The veggies soak up a lot of the pan juices and were great with rice. But great bread is always a welcome addition as well!

                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I got my chance to make the Thai-style roast chicken with lemongrass, red peppers and shiitakes (portobellos) last night. I made twice the amount of marinade, only using half on my 8 chicken thighs which marinated for about 6 hours. No shiitakes at the grocery store this week so I went with sliced portobellos. I loved the marinade and the vegetables and the chicken was moist. The skin, however, was pretty flabby - even though I blasted it at 500 for an extra 5 minutes at the end of cooking. I was disappointed since both Caitlin and the author were able to get crispy skin; but I do love the basic recipe. I started thinking that maybe shrimp would be a nice way to go; even tofu? The vegetables were out of this world. If it wasn't for that #@*% skin I'd be raving here. I did end up serving with baguette just to save on clean-up (with a guest around that is always nice) and I had spent a chunk of the day baking a cake and just wanted the easiest thing possible.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        Thai-Style Roast Chicken Parts with Lemongrass, Red Peppers, and Shiitakes

                                        I was a little disappointed with this one. I used all bone-in, skin-on thighs, which had marinated in the spice paste a full 24 hours. I used a jalapeno rather than a Serrano, since I don't like things too crazy spicy, but even with the lemongrass it didn't pack the flavor punch I was expecting and didn't taste particularly Thai to me. Also, the skin did not get crispy. I made the recipe exactly as specified and made the full batch of spice paste though I only roasted 5 thighs. I served the chicken and veggies over jasmine rice.

                                      2. Sunday Supper Roast Chicken with [Bacon and] Root Vegetables, Pg. 271

                                        Very tasty roast chicken even if we did omit the bacon. Simple method, lovely glaze with which to baste during cooking, plus seasonal vegetables bathing in luscious pan drippings. A one-dish meal = no fuss, no muss.

                                        We used a 3 1/2 pound free-range local farm chicken, smaller than the 5 - 6 pounder called for. We pretty much stayed with the listed amounts of the other ingredients which assured us of having plentiful juices. The chicken was salted as instructed for 24 hours, uncovered in the fridge, then taken out an hour before cooking in a pre-heated 375F oven.

                                        The vegetables, sliced into smallish chunks, we used were: carrots, parsnips, rutabaga. Sliced onions form a bed on which the chicken roasts with the vegetables, seasoned with herbes de Provence and S & P, are strewn around the breast side up chicken. Before putting the chicken into the oven a glaze of unsalted butter, balsamic vinegar, and honey is brushed on the breast and legs, then every 20 minutes during cooking. At these times the vegetables are nudged around a bit.

                                        All this produces a terrific juicy, tender, well seasoned chicken with crisp skin that looks like a picture. A simple tossed salad was the perfect accompaniment. Loved this meal!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I'm so happy to hear that it worked without the bacon. I love one dish meals (and with the potatoes and other vegetables, this should fit that bill), and I really really love roasted parsnips. And heck, I'll even be able to sneak in a rutabaga and turnip too. I'll likely do this using just chicken thighs instead of a whole bird. Very excited about it. Sounds wonderfully chilly winter friendly.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Sunday Supper Roast Chicken with Bacon and Root Vegetables - p. 271

                                            Thanks to Gio for the summary of this recipe above. We didn't pre-salt the meat, and I did include the diced bacon under the skin of my chicken, and then salted and peppered the skin just before roasting (DO take the author seriously when she warns that the bacon makes the chicken salty, and salt the skin more sparingly than you usually would, if you try this recipe with the bacon... I think I went a bit overboard.).

                                            I have a go-to method of roasting a chicken which involves blasting at 475F for about 40 minutes with a foil tent, then removing the tent and continuing to roast at 375F. In the spirit of COTM I decided to follow this recipe where all of the roasting is done at 375.

                                            We had a very large chicken (more than 5 lbs for sure). This meant that it took longer to roast than the recipe suggested, which I fully expected, but I didn't account for this additional roasting time causing the glaze to caramelize to an alarming degree. After three applications of glaze, the skin on top of the bird was black! I stopped glazing at that point and quickly put some foil onto the bird so that the skin wouldn't burn (luckily, I caught it in time). What also surprised me was that the veggies, cut into chunks of about 1.5-2" size, weren't completely done when my chicken was. I had to pull the bird out of the pan to rest, and leave the veg in with fingers crossed as I increased the temperature considerably and put my Yorkshire Puddings in for the next 25 minutes (you aren't supposed to open the oven while Yorkshires are baking, so they rise properly). I think the veggies benefited from the final blast at a higher temperature - in the end, they were perfectly cooked, and the parsnips were so sweet. I'm not sure if they would have caramelized quite so nicely if I'd left them at 375.

                                            Oh! One last comment about the vegetables. MS suggests that you can prevent the beets (if you're using them) from bleeding onto the other veggies by tossing them in a separate bowl with your seasonings & olive oil, before adding them to the roasting pan with the chicken. This did not hold true for me. As soon as those beets made contact with my chicken and the other veggies, they stained; and since the recipe instructed me to keep rummaging around in the vegetables every 20 minutes, by the end of the cooking time there was a streak of purpley-red beet juice on absolutely every other thing in the pan. Whoever prepared the veggies for the photo on p. 272 clearly did NOT roast the beets in with anything else. ;-)

                                            I'm afraid this extra time for the vegetables threw off some other parts of my meal; I had to continue roasting the veg for the entire resting time, and only then had access to my roasting pan to begin deglazing & starting gravy. This meant my meat & side dishes sat and got cold while I struggled to follow MS's instructions for making gravy. More on that below!

                                            As I wrote these comments I was asking myself whether I would follow this recipe again, and I would say no. I will try the glaze again, perhaps, if I'm roasting a smaller chicken or I might wait and apply the glaze later in the process. I will probably try the bacon-under-the-skin idea again if I happen to have some bacon handy. However, roasting my chicken at a lower temperature than usual just created more issues for me than I would expect for something so straightforward. The finished product was moist and delicious, for sure, so I have no complaints about flavour, but I think I want my roast chicken dinner to be uncomplicated and unfussy, and for me, this recipe was neither.

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              Oh phooey, geekmom! I took the easy way out, smaller bird, no bacon, no beets, no gravy. If I had cooked the beets I think I would have seasoned them, roasted in another pan, drizzled the glaze over now & then. I hope it was a tasty meal regardless.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Thanks, Gio! Yes, it was delicious, so the meal wasn't ruined by any means. Just rather... pink. :-)

                                          2. Roast Chicken Pieces Dijonnaise, pg. 302

                                            Snagged victory from defeat on this one last night. In truth it should be a really simple dish.

                                            Toss chicken pieces, 3 thighs for a 1/3 recipe in my case, with Dijon mustard, allow to marinate. Put in a shallow roasting pan, add a little wine to the pan and dollop of creme fraiche atop each piece.

                                            My trouble was that having already marinated the chicken, when I stopped on the way home to pick up creme fraiche at the grocery, they were out. I concocted a replacement of half sour cream and half greek yogurt, and stuck the chicken into the oven. According to the recipe the creme fraiche is supposed to melt off the chicken into the pan; my ersatz concoction did not melt it just stayed put. So after about twenty minutes, I nudged it off the chicken and into the pan juices.

                                            When cooked, remove chicken pieces from dish, set aside, scrape the pan juices into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, add tarragon and some lemon juice. This would probably work fine with creme fraiche, but my ersatz sauce required a quick whiz in the MFP to smooth it out. Plate the chicken, and top with the sauce.

                                            The upshot, this was delicious. Can't wait to try it with creme fraiche.

                                             
                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: qianning

                                              Roast Chicken Pieces Dijonnaise, pg. 302

                                              I'm glad to read that this turned out for qianning, because I really messed this one up. My chicken was good, but I ruined the pan sauce.

                                              My mistake ... the chicken thighs and legs were done before the breasts, so I took them out of the pan. In the 10 minutes where there were just two breasts in the roasting pan, the pan juices went from mustard color to dark brown and nearly burnt. I should have added a bit more wine when I removed some of the chicken pieces. The chicken was moist, but nothing special without the sauce.

                                              1. re: stockholm28

                                                Sorry this didn't work out for you Stockholm. Fortunately for me we are an all dark meat family when it comes to chicken--makes the timing so much easier.

                                                Curious, did you use creme fraiche, and did it melt off the pieces into the pan?

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  I used sour cream mixed with a little heavy cream ... but since I nearly burned it, I don't know how that would have worked.

                                                  Using all dark meat was smart. I'd do that if I try this again.

                                              2. re: qianning

                                                Roast chicken Dijonaise page 302
                                                I made this with one pound of chicken but kept the marinade and sauce ingredients the same. Used an excellent French mustard and a good quality Creme fraiche. Did not use herbs this time, because I didn't have them. It was delicious - and a definite repeat.
                                                Because of my gas oven, I did need to put the two leg/thigh
                                                pieces under the broiler briefly to brown.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Roast Chicken Dijonaise (page 302)

                                                  Would never have paid attention to this recipe had it not been for all your good reports. That, and I had both crème fraîche and tarragon on hand. I made it with skinless, boneless chicken thighs since that, too, was what was on hand. I used Fallot mustard, and marinated the chicken for probably 6 hours instead of the recommended 4. Didn’t seem to be a problem. The dish would certainly be more attractive with bone in, skin on chicken pieces. But for a not-going-out-in-the-cold, cook-with-what’s-on-hand dinner, this was definitely a winner. Only note to self, next time serve with rice to soak up more of that delicious sauce.

                                                   
                                                2. Pan sauce made from roast chicken - p. 31

                                                  I wasn't really sure where to put this commentary, because the "recipe" (really more of a point-form set of hints and tips) is in the introduction of the book, alongside lots of other useful information.

                                                  I will admit here that I, a fairly proficient home cook, have had a massive gap in my cooking skills - I never learned how to make gravy. I decided that with this book in hand, it would be a shame to pass up the chance to finally figure this out.

                                                  MS instructs you to save the pan drippings from your roasting meat, and then to either pour them over the meat before serving, or, if you want a pan sauce, use the drippings to deglaze the pan. I was eager to try this, because my roasted vegetables had left all kinds of deliciousness in the pan and I wanted to get that flavour into my gravy. Next, it's suggested that you thicken these sauces in the pan by sprinkling a spoonful of flour over top of the sauce and whisking it in. A final, optional step involves moving your sauce to a saucepan to reduce and adding some optional elements, such as a pat of butter, some cream, or a bit of meat glaze.

                                                  I took my roast chicken out of the pan to rest and carve, and put the pan juices into a bowl in order to allow the vegetables to dry out and finish roasting. Once the veggies were done, I moved the roasting pan onto the stovetop to deglaze; I put the bowl of pan drippings back in, turned the burner on to medium, and deglazed away.

                                                  After a while, I started to feel like I didn't really have enough liquid so I added a small carton (8oz) of chicken broth. The book instructs me to sprinkle flour over top of everything at this point, whisking to incorporate, but unfortunately I appear to lack the "finesse" that MS suggests is needed to use this approach, so my flour ended up filling the not-yet-gravy with lumps. I still couldn't tell how much liquid I actually had floating around in that massive roasting pan, so I decided to strain my liquid into a saucepan and continue working with it in there. At this point, I had a very thin sauce, since I'd just strained all the flour out of it, so I made a slurry with some fresh flour, and incorporated that into the liquid. It worked incredibly well, and thickened, but by this point I had been simmering my gravy for about 15 minutes and the liquid had reduced considerably. I poured it into the gravy boat, and it was barely half full - not nearly enough for four people - and very strongly flavoured, because the flavours had intensified as the sauce reduced. This was no good. I put the kettle on, put the sauce back into the pan to simmer, and thinned it out with about a cup of boiling water. At this point, of course, the gravy stopped being thick, and I then had to make yet another slurry with yet more flour (the third heaping spoonful of flour I had added to this poor sauce so far). This slurry didn't incorporate successfully, alas, even with vigorous whisking, so I found myself straining the gravy AGAIN and eventually giving up on it ever thickening -- because, needless to say, by this point my roast chicken, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and all our other side dishes were getting very cold waiting for this bleeping gravy to finally be ready to go. I also failed to taste and re-season in my rush to get the gravy on the table, so the final product here was somewhat thin and bland (but it was a beautiful rich colour, thanks to the beets I had had in my roasting pan!)

                                                  So - to summarize - I think I learned a lot about gravy-making techniques, and I'm not at all put off by the experience, but as a novice gravy maker I felt like the process could have gone a lot more smoothly... I'm hesitant to blame Ms. Stevens for my inability to get my gravy right, though. I'd welcome some feedback here from some of the more experienced gravy makers on this board.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                    When making gravy I do use the pan drippings but I also add broth or stock as I deglaze. For the flour I simply sprinkle it in one corner and whisk that, spreading it out through the rest of the liquid, whisking till it's thickened, adding more stock if nec. You did well to make a slurry. Good thinking on that. I'd have done the same. Once you think the gravy is thick enough cook a little longer, stirring, so it won't taste like raw flour. I do all of this over low heat.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Thank you, Gio - I'll try this next time! Possibly I had the burner turned up too high, and putting the flour in the corner of the pan sounds like a smart idea.

                                                  2. Basic Roast Chicken, Pg. 263

                                                    A basic roast chicken is exactly what one would think it would be. Take one chicken, salt inside and out from 4 - 24 hours, then slather with either butter or EVOO, shove it in a 400F oven, roast till juices run clear. Rest 10 - 20 min. Carve. Our chicken was an organic 3 1/2 pounder from Trader Joe's. It dry brined in the fridge for 24 hours. MS places sliced onions and/or lemons in roasting pan, chicken on top. This chicken goes into the oven feet first instead of feet facing the door. The juices are drizzled over each serving.

                                                    I don't think we've had any actual duds from this book, but this was a major one, one that was not the fault of the recipe, though. Our mistake? Using the TJ's chicken. We both agreed on this. We usually buy organic chickens either from the farm or Whole Foods. The result of our roast chickens are always tender, pieces of chicken oozing with that delicious gelatinous juice, and with golden crisp skin. Although this chicken was cooked till the inner temp was 170F, and juices ran clear, the skin was barely colored, the meat tasteless. Even the juices didn't have that distinctly poultry flavor.

                                                    There's more than half a chicken on the bone in the freezer. I'll haul it out next week and make a soup with winter root vegetables. It will be great. And, I ain't finished with this book yet. We've both really enjoyed it.

                                                    1. Roasted Buffalo Wings (p. 324)

                                                      I'll admit it - sometimes I'm a sucker for buffalo wings. And this take on them was delicious and easy. Instead of being fried as they often are (also sometimes breaded) these are roasted until crispy, and then tossed with a mix of butter and hot sauce. They take a while - 20 minutes, turn over, another 20 minutes, turn over, turn heat up and do another 7-10 minutes or so but aside from the turning/babysitting they're really easy. Mine wings came already separated so I didn't have to worry about that part, and I cheated and bought pre-made ranch and blue cheese dressings (the fancy kind in the fridge section). Served with celery sticks and roasted broccoli (this weirdness is explained by the fact that I had it in the fridge needed to use it). We all really enjoyed these and I'll be making them again.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Sounds delicious LLM. I still have the roasting book out so looked at the recipe and this might be a good thing to make at the week-end. The variation of a Balsamic-Honey Glaze sounds wonderful too, but I'll try the original first. The blue cheese dip doesn't sound too bad either. Thanks for reporting!

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          It would be a great thing to make when there is a game on and the weather outside is frightful.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            The weather outside is worse than frightful, we both have had raging colds that are beginning to wane now, have been making large quantities of soups so we can have soup on multiple days, these wings will be just the thing to get us back to normal. I've read that alcohol consumption can play a major role in reducing cold symptoms. The jury is still out on that one.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Um, I think I can comment fairly knowledgeably on this one. I don't think the symptoms are less bad, but one certainly cares a bit less. Weeeee!!! and all that.

                                                              Soup is a good way to go. And maybe a nice small glass of something dark and warming to take to bed with you (not Danny DeVito).

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Er... a large glass of... tall, dark, and warming is more to my liking.

                                                      2. Crispy Butterflied Roast Chicken (page 287)

                                                        Couldn’t be simpler. I spatchcocked the chicken, seasoned it with about 1¼ teaspoons of salt as recommended for a 3-pound butterflied chicken and added some pepper and dried thyme, and refrigerated it for probably closer to 28 than 24 hours.

                                                        Truth to tell, this was more a test of my new convection oven and its probe than of the recipe. I preheated the oven to 450F (I couldn’t believe it took less than half the time of my old oven), inserted the probe in the thigh, set the oven for convection roast and the meat temperature for 170F, which was reached in 20 minutes!!! I should have confirmed the temperature with my Thermapen, but the skin was still pale and not looking very appetizing, so I put the chicken back in the oven and kept a close eye on it. About 15 minutes later I check the thigh temperature with the Thermapen and it was close to 180F, so I pulled the chicken, although the skin still wasn’t quite as dark as I would have expected. So instead of the 50 minutes she said it would take for a 3½- to 4-pound chicken, my 3-pound chicken took only about 35 minutes. I didn’t bother with the pan sauce since I didn’t want to compromise the crispiness of the skin. And I wanted to taste the chicken without added flavors.

                                                        The skin was marvelously crispy, the flesh moist and flavorful and not seemingly overcooked. But the best part of the chicken was the backbone. I usually toss that in the freezer to save for stock, but decided to place it in the pan under the rack (although without the giblets) as she suggested. Oh, man! I suspect backbones will never go in the freezer again.

                                                         
                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Laughing as I read this....I buy leg quarters all the time, just so I can get the backs, by far my favorite part of the chicken. Try them in a curry--fabulous!