Update 16, Part 1: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

Sorry for the delay but it has been unseasonably warm here this week and, as they say, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." I know real-life restaurant kitchens are very hot-broiling, probably, but I didn't feel up to roasting a chicken in the oven when it was over 85 degrees outside, plus have been  working late, so that was a factor too. But now we're back to reasonable, seasonable April weather, so I got started on Session 8: Working with Poultry.

I first took a stab at trussing the 3.5 lb. chicken (organic, young, giblets removed but reserved) with twine via the book's instructions -- pretty slick. Just start under the tail, bring it up and over the drumsticks, cross, slide under the ends of the drumsticks and pull tight. Then, bring it along both sides of the bird, between the legs and the breast, then turn the bird onto its breast and bring one end above the wing and under the bone of the neck, securing the loose neck skin as you go. Tie tight and you're done!

My first Poultry Demonstration was Poulet Rôti Grand-mère (Grandmother's Roast Chicken). Once I had cleaned and trussed the chicken, I then browned it on top of the stove in its roasting pan in vegetable oil and butter (of course!) until all sides were well browned and the breast was lightly browned. It was a bit tricky to do this without messing up the skin -- I think plastic or wooden tongs would be ideal. I then put the browned chicken on its back and added the neck, gizzard, and heart into the pan and then placed it in a 450 degree oven for 10 mins. Then, I added the carrots and onions mirepoix and tossed them around the pan until they were coated with the fat.  You then put it back in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the skin was golden brown and juices are running clear. (Temp should be about 140-150 degrees F). Mine took about 45 mins. The bird was all golden and lovely -- browning it before roasting really is something I will do from now on.

During that 45 minutes, I was busy preparing the garnish. I sautéed lardons, then removed them and sautéed mushrooms in the bacon fat. Then, I cooked pearl onions à l'étuvé with some salt and sugar and made potatoes Pommes Rissolés style (both from Session 2: Working with Vegetables). I had to tournée the potatoes -- I'm really not that good at it, but I don't think I've ever eaten a potato that shape in my life and I've been to some of the best restaurants in the country, so maybe there's hope for me yet. When I took the chicken out of the oven to rest, I combined the mushrooms, lardons, potatoes and onions in a bowl and added fresh chopped parsley and salt/pepper. I kept warm in a bowl in the oven.

Also, while the chicken was resting, I put the roasting pan on the stove and scraped up all the sucs and deglazed the pan, adding white wine and some of my very own stock and simmering for about 10 mins. I used my chinois to strain the liquid and set aside.

Then, I carved up the chicken (the twine came off easily) into equal portions of drumsticks, breasts and wings, and I even used the Manchonner technique on the ends of the drumsticks and wings to make them look pretty (basically scraping the top and cutting off the cartilage). While I was waiting for Chris to get home, I put everything in a dutch oven in the oven to keep it warm. (The pic below was before I carved the bird.)

I served a thigh and a breast on each plate along with the veggie garnish and the gravy. Chris said it was really light and good and "comforting."

Just like Grandma.


Roast chicken on Foodista