Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CSA week five - Roast chicken and beets

This is pretty simple, but it's one more iteration in my roast chicken series and I wanted to get it down on the record. Last time I roasted a chicken (the Hamersley's Bistro recipe before the Moroccan and boneless fried chickens), I smeared it with an herb paste that didn't do a great job in flavoring it and mostly just fell off. This time I stuffed the paste under the skin--actually I simplified it down to a parsley and thyme butter--and seasoned the outside Zuni Café style with a seasoned salt and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Both the Hamersley and the Zuni recipe keep the chicken unbutchered but I decided to butterfly it. I'm also roasting the beets and, since I'm not wrapping them in foil as a lot of recipes call for (since I want the chicken drippings to add a bit of flavor to them), I wanted to spread the chicken out over top to shield them from the direct heat. I stuffed a few lemon slices in between too.

I used the America's Test Kitchen roasting method: forty minutes at 500 degrees, turning the pan halfway through. That finished the chicken just right, but the beets needed another ten minutes to get to the soft texture I was looking for.

I'm pleased with the chicken. It's a touch less succulent than the best results I've gotten before, but it is flavored nicely throughout which previously recipes that only seasoned over the skin didn't manage. The skin isn't quite as nice as the previous best either, but I think second night resting in the refrigerator before roasting would help with that. The black pepper in the outer seasoning did burn a little so I think I'll avoid that in the future and maybe use the slightly lower temperature of the Zuni method.

I still like the boneless pan frying method best, but it's good to have the oven hot on a cold night like tonight.

The beets turned out well too, but the chicken basting didn't help really. The best flavor was the pure sweet beet on the inside and the slightly crispy caramelized stumps where the tops were cut off. Maybe I should have peeled them. Are you supposed to peel beets before you roast them? I think that would let flavors penetrate better.


LaDivaCucina said...

I peel my beets but I don't think you have to as long as you wash all that dirt out of them! How did the beet/chicken combo turn out? I'm not a huge fan of beets but am learning/trying to like them. Only way I can eat them is roasted!

kat said...

I think seasoning under the skin makes such a huge difference in flavor of the chicken. As for the beets unless they are baby beets, I peel them. I also tend to cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to the roasting pan so they cook about the same amount of time.

billjac said...

These were small, but not baby beets so they must have just barely come out OK and I still haven't experienced the true joy of a well-roasted beet.

Next time I'll do them on their own. They don't harmonize with chicken the way roasted potatoes and carrots do.

--Lisa said...

Try the Cooks Illustrated method for Italian Fire Brick grilled chicken. We now use the seasoning method for roast chicken with excellent results.

billjac said...

I'm not familiar with their grilled chicken recipe. How is that different from their standard roasted chicken method?