Monday, October 23, 2006

Begin with a roast chicken

Real food people like to say that roasting a chicken is a simple task that really shows whether someone can cook or not. I don't know about that, but I do know that that's what I made yesterday for Sunday dinner:

1 organic, free-range chicken, about a 4-5 pound bird. Patted all over both sides with salt and pepper. Stuffed the cavity with rosemary and sage, plus a little chopped sage for the top even though it was pointless. Started breast-side down at 450 degrees, flipped after 20 minutes, flipped again in 10 minutes, then reduced heat to 350 and basted a little. Flipped again and basted in 30 minutes. Sucked out a ton of juice and grease from the bottom of the pan and flipped it once more. Added 1 sweet potato (cut in half, split each half and cut into 1/4" half moons), 1 parsnip (same cut), 2 yukon gold potatoes (same cut), and 2 carrots (matchsticks). Everything went back in together for 20 minutes, then added about 10 peeled, whole garlic cloves. Took out chicken and allowed to rest on cutting board. Cranked oven up to 500 and roasted vegetables, tossing frequently, for about 20 minutes.

In a large, deep skillet: Toasted 2 cups large pearl couscous in butter and a bit of chicken juice/fat. Browned it, added well-chopped parsley, then added 4 cups of chicken stock. Brought to boil, reduced heat to simmer and covered. When all liquid was absorbed (about 10-15 minutes) turned off the heat and added zest and juice of one small lemon.

Steamed two heads of chopped broccoli with their peeled matchstick stems until just al dente and very bright green.

For dessert we had a pumpkin bread that has a cream cheese filling. The pumpkin bread is easy: scant 3 cups sugar beat with 1 cup vegetable oil. Mix in 3 big eggs and a 15 or 16 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, no matter how on sale it is). In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon each of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and baking soda. Add to this 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and baking powder. Stir these dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture in several batches. Prepare 2 buttered & floured 9x5x3 loaf pans. Pour half the batter in, then pipe in a filling of 1 package cream cheese that you have mixed with confectioners sugar and vanilla to taste. Cover with rest of batter. Place a decorative topping (I make a line and then cross-hatch it 4 times) on top with the rest of the cream cheese fiiling. Set to bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool. We enjoyed this with Turkish coffee, (ground unbelievably fine, that Mom found at the DeKalb Market), made with the stovetop espresso pot.

Melanie and Jeremy came up for dinner. We had a bottle of something that was malbec mixed with cabernet sauvignon that was OK, and then half a too sweet pinot noir. The dogs briefly wrestled and then settled down for naps on their respective cushions.


AJ said...

Wow. Lucie and I are terribly impressed. All that and you don't even have a chicken impaler like I do.

giovanna said...

I tasted the great soup on my visit to Atlanta. I was very proud of my daughter skills to make a very flavorfoul soup, better than I have ever made myself. Nothing bette than an excellent warm suop at the end of a long day and travel.

giovanna said...

I tasted the great soup on my visit to Atlanta. I was very proud of my daughter's skills in soup making , better than I have ever made myself. Nothing better than an excellent warm soup at the end of a long day and travel.

carla said...

Mom actually makes the best soup--everybody knows it. She just says these things to boost my fragile self-esteem...