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Monday, March 10, 2008

Bread and Chicken, Chicken and Bread

Friday was the third and last roast chicken trial. This is the method I used most in the past, taken from The Cook's Bible by Christopher Kimball.

Slow-Roast Chicken

3.5-lb chicken
little bit of butter
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove giblets from chicken cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Poke chicken all over with small skewer (I used a bamboo cake tester) (this is borrowed from the crispy-skin method, in part to make the skin crispier and in part because the pok-pok noise when you pierce the skin is so satisfying). Put chicken in V-rack in roasting pan, breast side up. Put a little softened butter on your hands (a teaspoon or so) and rub the chicken all over. Then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I suppose now is where you could put the whole assemblage into the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, in which case you shouldn't have the oven on yet.)

Put chicken in oven and roast for 30-35 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and roast for an hour. Then raise oven temperature to 400 degrees for a further 15-30 minutes, until temperature is 165 in the thigh and 170 in the breast (or thereabouts).

As you can see from the pictures, I also tried this time to stick veggies in the bottom of the roasting pan: a garnet yam, peeled and cut into chunks, the rest of the Russian Banana fingerling potatoes, a few carrots, peeled and cut into sections, and two leeks, quartered. I drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil (since the chicken would be dripping its own fat on them, too), sprinkled with some salt and pepper and tossed to coat. The leeks didn't fare so well--if I do them again, I'll leave them whole (the ones I've been getting don't have much if any dirt down in them), or switch to whole shallots.

This chicken was delicious, and just about as easy as the French pot-roast method. I think in the future I'll use the French method if I want to make gravy, or just for a change, but I'll go back to this method as my default.

I also baked up the last of the Simple Crusty Bread, this time borrowing from another no-knead bread recipe, in Cook's Illustrated. They suggest letting the dough rest/rise in a parchment-lined skillet, and then transferring dough and parchment to a preheated cast-iron dutch oven in the oven. The oven and pot are preheated to 500 degrees, and then the temperature is lowered to 425 for the remainder of baking, the first half-hour with lid in place, and second half-hour uncovered.

This method definitely works better than throwing water in the broiler pan underneath the baking stone for developing a crisp, shiny crust. However, it seemed to me that the parchment imparted a slightly off flavor to the bottom crust of the bread. I've never had that issue with baking on parchment before, but then it's never had direct contact with a preheated-to-500 degrees hunk of cast iron before, either. I seem to recall one of the other no-knead recipes I've seen also called for baking in a dutch oven, but without parchment. I'll see if I can track that one down and try it.

And finally, the bebe, hanging out with Grandma.

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Blogger Jana said...

Nice to see that shirt in use again (finally!).

March 10, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger MWR said...

I strongly recommend you try the following roast chicken recipes:

1. Original "Chez Panisse Cooking"(Paul Bertolli / Alice Waters)

2. "Simply French" (Patricia Wells / Joel Robuchon)

Also, the child plainly needs a Don't Trust Snakes shirt or sleep suit!

March 10, 2008 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Hevansrich said...

cute, cute, CUTE!!! And is that vintage Old Navy/Gap baby clothes she is wearing? I'm quite sure I dressed Harriet and Jack in the same chickie/mouse onesies (with the matching pink and blue flannel overalls) some eight years ago!

March 10, 2008 at 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, I assume those books are part of your library? How 'bout you loan them to me next time you head down I-5. And remind me the link for the shirts?

Yes, Hev, that is a vintage Gap bodysuit. It was originally worn by Jana's oldest, almost exactly the same age as the twins. I can't remember if she bought it or I did, but in any case I think it was off the clearance rack and I don't remember a matching overall (too bad!).

March 10, 2008 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger MWR said...

Will do. I may be down that way the last weekend of this month, for the kid's second birthday. We'll chat.


March 11, 2008 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger Jana said...

At the time that I purchased it, I was most definitely anti-pink. That's why you never saw the pink and blue overalls, JaneAnne. I didn't give in and buy Bug anything pink until a few months later.

March 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM  

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