Nothing qualifies me as a gourmet except my love of all things gourmet. From wine to waffles, mustard to meatloaf, and lobster to lardo. I am finally ready to share my love of food, cooking and dining out with all my on-line friends.
Nothing like the smell of fresh bread to make a house smell like a home….and less like rotten garbage that should have gone out a day earlier.
Can’t wait for that stuff to come out of the oven and into my mouth…NOM NOM NOM
So the first time I tried the “engagement chicken,” it was undercooked and I may have served my husband up a case or salmonella rather than romance. I started calling it “divorce chicken,” or at least a “legal separation,” chicken. For those of you that cook, you will know that I had the simple issue of under cooking my bird, rather than anything.
Mind you, I also thought I would be all resourceful and do everything in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. For those of you not familiar with Pampered Chef, this is the cooking version of Amway. You know those direct sales things where they come to your house and do demos and tell you all about the reason you should buy their products and then of course, sell their products. I was the WORST Pampered Chef consultant ever in the sense that I only did it to further my own habit of owning more cooking products that I had no room for in my house. Being the self aware individual I am, I had realized that the fact that my kitchen product addiction had moved into my guest room, laundry room and pantry was a fair indicator that I had enough kitchen stuff.
Clearly, I have digressed. To make a long story longer, my girlfriend Sara and I were talking about roasted chicken. Her husband said that it was one of his favorite dishes he bought. She sent me her recipe, which was very similar to my engagement chicken recipe. However, this time, I cooked it for the proper time AND I used a proper roasting pan. I put a full layer of fresh veggies from the farmer’s market underneath (fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions and Gilroy garlic). The veggies came out covered in fatty caramel goodness and the entire chicken was cooked to a perfect temp. I even ended up with juicy breast and fully cooked thighs.
I may not have gotten an engagement ring over this chicken, but it certainly goes into the hall of fame for best dinners with my hubby. Not a bad way to end the night!
Here is the recipe my friend shared, and you will see it is very similar to the engagement chicken. If you don’t have twine to truss your chicken, you can just tuck the legs underneath:
8. While the chicken is resting, you can make a quick pan gravy by setting the roasting pan over two burners. Add enough flour to absorb the drippings and create a paste. Cook while stirring constantly for a few minutes. Pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of white wine while whisking constantly. Cook for one minute. Add about 1-1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and continue whisking. Let cook down for 5-10 minutes and season with salt/pepper to taste.
I have to admit my hopes were dashed, after my stock-turned-aspic event. I took that giant bowl of gelatinous chicken sludge and threw it back on the stove for another 6 hours. I reduced it to about 20 ounces. I started with about a gallon or so of liquid and it had become this thick brown goodness.
So it wasn’t a total loss and it turned out beautiful. I made my “engagement risotto,” tonight and I put a couple tablespoons of it in the dish. It was “the best you have ever made.” I stand, relieved. For those of you, or at least my single follower to date, who doesn’t understand the “engagement” reference, it is based on a recipe called “engagement” chicken. Well, I have to tell you it is a good thing I am good at risotto, because I ended up with nearly-raw-legal-separation-chicken. It was literally bleeding in the thighs and the breasts were near the consistency of a piece of comfor-foam. You know - the kind of foam they make Tempur-pedic mattresses with. Maybe one of these days I will learn to bake a chicken….stay tuned!
I am not sure if anyone else suffers from this, but I often think I am better at something that I actually am. In this case, it refers to cooking and what I think I am great at, is making stock. Chicken stock, specifically.
My husband and I are pretty good at eating healthy and I mostly cook pretty healthy stuff at home. One of the things I like to do, is strip rotisserie chickens and use the meat in a variety of things. Once that is done, I like to save the carcass and then boil it down for about 8 hours and make a rich stock. Normally, when I strip the chicken, I toss out the skin and fat, to keep things really light and low in fat. This week, I decided to use the skin, fat, etc., and the carcass when I boiled down the chicken. It was a love affair in a dutch oven; or so I thought.
For the first few hours, things were going exactly as I expected them to. As things would cool, I would scrape that “skin” that formed on the top of the stock. (I think you could repair gutter leaks with this kind of stuff) After about 9 hours on the stove, it was a delicious and rich stock. Every now and then, I would peel off a layer of skin, as it cooled. My plan after that was to stick it in the fridge and then pull off the thick layer of fat that would congeal on the top. Are you hungry yet? If not, it gets better!
I stick it in the fridge for about three hours so it will cool. I go into the giant bowl and I start to scrape off the top layer of fat. I keep scraping, thinking I will get to the liquid part. Well, apparently I am an ace at making chicken jello. I ended up creating an accidental aspic. I have to admit that I like my gelatin grape or cherry flavored…and most often with vodka.
I tossed a good scoop of this into some quinoa the other day and it was fabulous, but I think I am going to keep cooking the half gallon of this mess into a nice finishing sauce.
Wish me luck!