Stinque Recipe Challenge
What’s better than roast chicken and mashed potatoes on a winter evening? And, of course, there are as many ways to roast a chicken as there are cooks. Here’s how I do it, and I’d like to hear how you do it – always looking for tips and tricks. First, the neck (and giblets if they’re in the cavity) go into a pot to slow cook with a rough-cut mirepoix:
Once the chicken is done I add the pan drippings to the reduced chicken/giblets stock and whisk it with butter and flour – that gravy goes on the mashies. Now for the chicken:
Unless I want a Perdue or kosher bird (I don’t) I’m stuck with the small organic Fairway chicken, anywhere from 3-4 pounds. I am from the 2o minutes per pound plus 10 school (then rest for at least 15 to let the juices redistribute) but I will assure it’s done by making sure the breast is at least 160 F.
First, wash the chicken and dry it thoroughly. Salt and pepper in the cavity at this point, and you don’t have to, but I’ll usually stuff the cavity with 2 lemon quarters, and rough-cut carrots, celery, onions or leeks, and a sprig to two of fresh thyme if I have it. If you don’t stuff it the bird will cook more quickly. Also, especially for a small chicken, I’m not a big advocate of trussing because the wings will be mostly inedible anyway – sufficient to tuck them under the bird. Here I trussed the legs simply to keep the veggies in:
At this point you can go all Gordon Ramsay and put butter or chive butter or truffle butter or whatever under the skin, but I have a life outside my tiny kitchen. It’s sufficient unless it’s an occasion to butter the outside of the bird and salt it – no pepper because the high heat of the initial blast in the oven will cause it to taste bitter.
It’s important to get heat under the bird so it cooks evenly, so cook it on a rack or, ideally, in a V-rack. An initial blast of heat at 475F is also important as it crisps the skin, and let’s face it, the skin is the best part of the chicken. After 15-20 minutes at 475, depending on the size of the bird, lower the heat to 350 and cook for 20 minutes per pound, then 10 more minutes, checking the breast temperature before you put it in for the last 10. Here the temperature was 170 plus after 75 minutes total for a 3.25 pound bird, so I declared it done.
Cover the bird with aluminum foil and rest it for at least 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute.
There’s no point in making a chicken if you toss the pan drippings. Skim the fat if you wish, but don’t lose the chance to make great gravy for mashies or rice. I reduce the broth from the neck and giblets (see above), fortify with canned stock if necessary, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk with butter and flour to thicken.
I use about 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken the gravy, but it’s easy to estimate – if you get it too thick, just add water and keep whisking.
So that’s my method – what’s yours? And if you’re interested, there’s another cook who has her own views on the subject: