Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chicken! Or a short diversion from our Napa experience

We're back, and with work awaiting us tomorrow, we spent Sunday (Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!) tidying up, brunching at a standard issue NYC diner, roaming through the farmer's market, and prepping our Napa Part II blog post (tktktk).  But after all that wine and grilling in CA, I had a hankering for roast chicken.
Thomas Keller's perfect roast chicken from Feather Ridge Farm
This chicken brought to you by  Feather Ridge Farm 

I've been putting off this post. The truth is, Mr. Quail is the primary chef de cuisine at home. But I do have a few meals in my repertoire and one "recent" (4 years ago) addition is roast chicken, mainly because it requires an oven, and in the Quail household, the oven is my domain.

I use the Thomas Keller recipe easily accessible on the internet (I think there's even a video). If you haven't done so already, try it.  It's ridiculously simple. This time, inspired by the amazing fried chicken I had in Sonoma (more on that later), I added cayenne to the rub, and 'twas outstanding.
  • Purchase: one small chicken (under 4 lbs, but 2lb seems to be the magic number), preferably a fresh one that lived a healthy life not too far from where you live. We got ours from Feather Ridge Farm at the farmer's market.
  • Wash
  • Dry
  • Salt and pepper vigorously
  • Truss
  • Bake in 450 degree (yes, it's hot) oven for 50 minutes or until the thing looks like it's been tanning in south jersey and the juices run clear.
  • Remove, baste with herbs (thyme, rosemary, etc.)
  • Carve (NB: Shout out to my mom who bought and roasted several chickens during my youth, just so I would learn how to carve properly.)
  • Slather with mustard if desired, and try, just try, to eat with a knife and fork (never happens).
  • Do not: Stuff or add vegetables or baste.  Any additions add steam. Steam attracts the water in the chicken, chicken dries out yielding dry, chalky breasts and rubbery thighs--gross in any conotation.
While the chicken was broiling, and Dame Maggie Smith and Professor Moriarty meowing, Mr. Quail sauteed up some collard greens (Sicilian style with pine nuts and raisins) and roasted some sunchokes.  The sunchokes were a revelation--possible the best roasted "potatoes" I've ever had (thank you to the Cooking Channel for actually inspiring us to cook something).  Next time we'll buy more than a quarter pound.

The end result, served with toast, mustard, a little honey, and one more bottle of Pliny the Elder.

Thomas Keller simple roast chicken with sunchokes and collard greens

And of course, don't forget the cook's reward: the okole (or tail. Yes, the tail.  Don't be an okole hater).  Finally, after years of my mother and grandmother snagging it first, I finally get it all to myself (okay, I may have split it with Travis)
The 'okole: the best part of the chicken. 
Now, off to watch the Game of Thrones finale.  Regular life recommences tomorrow. Until next time, 'Okole Maluna*!

1 comment:

hld6 said...

Yum. This sounds delicious, and it's even gluten free!