Hurrah! It’s Friday again!
So far my Lent commitment is going well…Gum seems to help a bit and the headaches are subsiding. Aside from that, I am looking forward to next week’s shenanigans. The Academy Awards are Sunday (obsessed) and Sunday also marks the beginning of Knoxville Restaurant Week!You all know how I love some delicious cuisine, hell, it’s the main reason I run. So when the glorious opportunity arises for me to enjoy some of Knoxville’s finest fare at a less expensive price, I jump at the chance. Plus it benefits Second Harvest Food Bank (as if I needed another excuse.)
So far, four reservations have been made a various local restaurants – three of which I have never been to, and my expectations are high. High because I have heard wonderful things about all my selections and also because we are talking a minimum of three delectable courses at each establishment. This translates to a boat-load of pre-dinner running for me: ie, it better be worth it. I’ll report back next week.
I’ve decided to be very original and start Friday Favorites. But rather than doing a list of things that I like, I’ll save you the trouble and focus on just one favorite thing per week. This Friday, I’m going to share a favorite recipe: Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Chicken. Ina Garden, in all her East Hampton-dwelling glory, writes, in my opinion, the best cookbooks. Her recipes are elegant, but not complicated and they ALWAYS taste fantastic. Her roast chicken recipe is no exception – moist chicken with crispy skin and roasted root vegetable seasoned with thyme. I promise you, it’s as good as it looks.
Also, just to keep things interesting – there will be several food puns scattered amongst the post. Personally, I find all puns hysterical and have no doubt that you feel the same…maybe. Either way, it amused me; hopefully it will amuse you as well.
Perfect Roast Chicken
Yields: 4-6 servings depending on the size of the chicken
Difficulty: Fairly easy assuming you have basic knowledge dealing with a raw, whole chicken
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
- 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
- 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
- Olive oil
- Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove chicken giblets and rinse chicken inside and out. (I like to save the giblets, simmer them in water for a few hours and use the broth for gravy. Also the dogs get a nice treat.)
- Remove any access fat and pin feathers and pat the outside dry with paper towels.
- Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff with the bunch of time, both lemon halves, and all the garlic. The recipe doesn’t call for too many spices – anything more would be in-salting.
- Use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ the chicken with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. There is little margarine for error here as the butter assists with crisping the skin.
- Truss the chicken. If you don’t know how to do this – you need to learn. This is a very informative video to guide you.
- In a roasting pan, toss together the onions, carrots, fennel, salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of Thyme and Olive Oil. (*Hint* I remove the thyme leaves from their twigs before I toss them with the veggies. You can’t eat the twiggys and it saves you thyme from having to remove while eating.)
- Place the stuffed and trussed chicken atop the vegetables like so:
- Roast the chicken for about 1 ½ hours depending on the size (about 20 minutes per pound) like so:
- Remove the impeccable chicken from the oven and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
- Slice the chicken and serve with the vegetables. Need to know how to slice a chicken to get the best bang for your buck? Check out this fun video! P.S. Ensure that none of your guests have an allergy to chicken as it can give some a foul rash.
- Be prepared to get peppered with compliments!
I served the chicken with a side of twice baked sweet potatoes (I yam impressed with how amazing this recipe is) and whole wheat egg noodles with gravy.
Oh and watch out for beggers…
Have a great weekend everyone, and for anyone in the Knoxville area, looking for a good time, come hang out with me down at the Valarium for Doc Rock – a battle of local physician bands all competing to donate money to their charity of choice. Good music, good cause, AND there will be cocktails! can’t beat that!