Roast Chicken for Sunday Lunch

It seems of late that I’ve been rushing through so many things.  Today is a good day to take things slow and just relax.  I would’ve normally whipped up a fancy breakfast but I woke up at 9AM, and only because my Mom went into the room and woke me up because Angel didn’t want to eat breakfast if I wasn’t the one feeding him.  So there I was trying not to miss his mouth as I spoon fed him his oatmeal breakfast, until I finally had my eyes open wide enough to make coffee for Alan and myself.

I made him some sausage and eggs and I settled for a microwaved cheese sandwich.  I sat down through breakfast and my morning cappuccino checking up on e-mail.  I didn’t really get the chance to post because before I knew it, it was 11AM and time to prepare lunch.  My project this Sunday was Robert Arbor’s Roast Chicken from his book Joie de Vivre which I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. 

The recipe itself is simple enough, and I believe doable on an Electrolux Turbo broiler, too.  (Note to self: E-mail this to Abril, my brother, who loves his turbo broiler back home.)  It takes around 20 minutes to prepare the dish and then an hour and a half to make sure you don’t undercook the chicken, so give yourself two hours’ lead time if you want to try this.

I also learned that being too cautious with the seasoning can lead to a very bland but well textured and moist chicken — so be generous with the seasoning.  You might also want to put in more garlic for a stronger flavor.  Enjoy!

REALLY GOOD ROASTED CHICKEN by Robert Arbor

Ingredients:
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
1 fresh, free range chicken, about 3 lbs
4 cloves garlic or to taste
Pinch of Herbes de Provence (thyme, bay, rosemary, oregano)
1 slice stale bread
Olive oil, butter or duck fat
1 bunch of carrots, about 8, with greens intact to ensure freshness
* I’d count two sticks per serving to make a good side
2 medium yellow onions
2 Roma tomatoes, fresh and whole
1 glass white wine (8-10 ozs) – optional

Preheat oven to 375 degress.

Place salt, pepper, and paprika inside the chicken cavity.  Add one or two cloves of garlic and herbes de Provence.  Replace liver, heart, and gizzards in cavity if you eat them.  Rub the stale bread with one clove of garlic and stuff it in the cavity.

Don’t bother to tie or truss the chicken.  Simply push the chicken back into shape and tuck wing tips under the bird.

Rub the skin of the chicken with the fat of your choice — olive oil, butter (Pinay New Yorker’s choice), or duck fat.  Season the outside with the same herbs you stuffed the chicken with if you wish.

In a low-sided pan that has been lightly rubbed with oil, place the following: the seasoned chicken; the carrots (greens removed, peeled but whole)l the onions (cut in half then into 4 wedges, and then cut across into 1/8 inch strips); the tomatoes (cored and cut into 4 wedges each); one clove of garlic.

Cook for at least 1 hour and until juice from a pricked thigh runs clear.  It is not bad to cook this chicken a little longer than necessary, but it is awful to undercook chicken.  You do not need to baste.

Bring the remaining juice in the pan to a boil.  Add salt and ppeper and deglaze with a glass of water (or white wine).  When the liquid boils and reduces a bit, pour it into a sauceboat and serve witht he chicken and vegetables.

Variations:  Use fresh tarragon when preparing the chicken and add chopped fresh tarragon to the sauce.  You could add butter or cream at the end of the sauce making for a richer taste.

More than the flavor, I enjoyed using this cooking method with the stale bread in the cavity and flavoring, etc.  I will definitely make it more tasteful next time by not being overly cautious with the seasoning.  I just didn’t want anything too spicy or sharp in the chicken.  The skin was crisp and the meat very juicy.. yummy, yummy, yummy!

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