Confession time. Before this week, I’d never roasted a whole bird. With plans to make roast a duck for Thanksgiving and a turkey for Christmas, Geordie thought it would be prudent for me to try roasting something cheaper first. About once a month, whole chickens go on sale at HEB, so I was able to get a 5-pound chicken for about $2.50. Certainly cheap enough for a roasting test run.
Because I had no idea what to do with a whole bird, I went in search of a good roasting recipe. There are plenty to be found, but I already knew which one I really wanted to use. I was tempted to do a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, but instead, I went with one from Anne Burrell’s Cook Like a Rock Star. I adore Anne Burrell. As far as celebrity chefs go, she’s my personal culinary hero. I love her approach to recipes, which is to make things as simple as possible without dumbing them down. She explains why you do things, which is always nice, because I always wonder why things are done the way they’re done. Also, when you watch her show, she’s one of the few hosts who doesn’t go on and on about some personal story that you really don’t care about (I get kinda tired of hearing about how someone had a meal once in Spain or Italy or France or something and simply had to recreate it at home, or how they served this particular dish at their cousin’s niece’s brother’s birthday and everybody loved it even though something went slightly awry – I don’t care about that stuff, I just wanna hear about the food!) When Anne Burrell has airtime to fill, she does it by talking about food, and I appreciate that. It’s one thing to read a story in a cookbook; it’s another to have 5 minutes of a 24-minute show wasted by it.
But maybe that’s just me. That’s cool.
Anyway, back to the bird.
I may have used Anne Burrell’s recipe for this bird, but I’ll definitely be looking at other recipes – particularly Dorie’s – because this worked beautifully.
Okay, maybe not visually beautifully. I had a little trouble turning the chicken over and needed Geordie’s help, and things got a little disheveled. Also, I neglected to buy kitchen twine, so I couldn’t truss the bird. I’ll do that next time. I figure it’ll make it easier to turn the bird, which will make it prettier on the table.
Also, I need some practice carving. Burrell provides instructions in her book, but I’m thinking I should probably see a demonstration before I try again. I got the meat off the bird, but it was in no way elegant or clean.
Oh, but it was tasty. The gravy was made with the carrots roasted with the chicken, along with some white wine and a little extra chicken broth. Geordie thought it was a little “tangy,” but I loved it. I should have thought to buy potatoes and make a nice mash to lay the chicken on and soak up the gravy, but I didn’t, so I just served the chicken with some homemade bread. Next time, I’ll do the potatoes.
Actually, next time, I’ll do a few things differently. But I will say that, for this time – the first time – I was so happy with my chicken. And I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.
That’s easy enough to answer, really. Doing up a whole bird seems a bit of a daunting task. I was pleased to learn that it’s really not. Once I’d got the chicken into the oven, there really wasn’t much for me to do except make sure the bird got to the right temperature. With a little guidance, that was easy enough. No undercooked or overcooked bird here – it was done just right.
Alright, Thanksgiving, I’m ready for you now! This duck and I are going to take on the world!
Or just the kitchen. That works too.