Monday, March 17, 2008

Roast Dinner on a Wednesday

This past Wednesday it was my turn to suggest something for dinner, and so I put two options to the other WeDine members, one of which was a whole roast chicken. And it was that option which was very clearly the winner, as all expressed a unanimous wish to eat roast chicken that very night! In another moment of food serendipity, Meg had been planning to make a roast chicken that weekend anyway, so it all worked out well.

We thought Donna Hay might be just the person to help us out with such a dinner classic, and so she was. She advised us to cook our (approximately) three-pound organic bird for (approximately) an hour. We cleaned and dried it, and prepared the caramelized onion stuffing that called for four white onions, sliced into rings and sauteed in butter till brown, three to four cups of breadcrumbs (we found we didn't need all of that), and a teaspoon or two of herbs. I think she called for dried, but we only had fresh thyme.

We stuffed all this into various cavities in the bird. It must be said, our knowledge of both chicken anatomy and disassemblage could do with a little refresher. Certainly a little course in how to bone a chicken would be useful. Having stuffed the chicken, we tied it up with a little kitchen (read: all-purpose) twine, placed it on the rack (conveniently acquired some Thanksgiving ago) and patted it down with some butter and salt. We cut a few roasting potatoes in half, judiciously applied a little olive oil and butter, and scattered them around the pan. They turned out really well, with very little effort, which is always pleasing!

The whole endeavour took a couple of hours, but not concentrated hours. The cooking time for the bird took about one and a quarter of those two hours. We tested the thigh with the meat thermometre at about an hour, but it needed a bit more time, so we reintroduced it to the oven. Meanwhile, we had put sliced carrots and brussels sprouts on to steam, and when they were done, we may have combined the carrots with some butter and sliced toasted almonds. Amandine!

The meal's elements were delicious together and the chicken cooked well and was really moist (even without the 2 cups of stock Donna recommends you pour into the bottom of the pan for a moister chicken. We forewent the stock in favour of a crispier skin). The stuffing didn't come together well – it wasn't meant to be moist, I suppose, but I feel we missed something there. Should it have been holding together? Perhaps readers have suggestions.

But overall it was fantastic! A great roast dinner for a Wednesday dinner.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody!


moyrad said...

I agree about the stuffing. The parts of it that were moist were delish, maybe Donna measures butter like Nigella and Ina 1 tbsp = 1 cup. It was a lovely and tasty meal, much simpler to make than i thought. This will be recipe to make again.

Meg said...

Those potatoes were the best ever - perfectly gorgeous and delicious. A little crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. And the chicken was excellently moist. Plus, the long cooking time meant we ate at my normal dinner time :)

I feel that Julia Child might be the right person to give us our chicken parts refresher...

Anonymous said...

You are right, Meg, about Julia Child and the chicken dismembering. I am hungry just looking at the picture and I don't even like dark meat of chicken.