Rich came home from a trip to Trader Joe’s with our favorite whole chicken; free-range, organic, and almost stoopidly good. I would normally just spatchcock it, toss in a bag with some olive oil, lemons, onion, salt, and rosemary, and let it marinate for a while before roasting or grilling; but I still had a taste for my (current) favorite way to roast a turkey – with bourbon, brown sugar, and apple cider or juice. Golnaz had made a magnificent brined bird for Thanksgiving, but I was feeling the need for a bit of the ole apple and bourbon treatment…
•1 whole (approx. 5-1/2 lb) chicken
•2 cups apple juice
•1/2 cup bourbon
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1 onion, quartered
•4 ribs of celery
•1 apple, quartered
•2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled
•Sea salt, black pepper
Oh, and did I mention that this roast chicken, complete with a lovely gravy, is dairy- and gluten-free?
Begin by combining the apple cider or juice with the bourbon and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the cheesecloth, pushing down into the mixture to really soak it.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and place in a bowl or pan. Cover with the cheesecloth and pour the bourbon mixture over all. Set aside to marinate for for 60 to 90 minutes – or overnight, if you stash the chicken in the fridge. Baste when you think of it.
Add the sliced apple, onion, celery and garlic to the bottom of a roasting pan – it’s hard to see in this picture (black pan on black stove is hard to shoot), but I was using my new cast iron Dutch oven.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the cheesecloth. Season the chicken inside and out with sea salt and black pepper and place on top of the veggies in your roasting pan.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside in a warm spot to rest for 30 minutes.
Now, we can make our gravy!
Place your reserved chicken giblets in a medium pot, then strain enough of the chicken roasting liquid over them to cover.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes (how convenient – the same time as the chicken needs to rest), until the giblets are nicely cooked through.
Add some of those reserved roasting veggies, season with salt and pepper, then give the whole thing a good whizzz with your immersion blender. You’ll have a pretty fantastic tasting – and nicely thickened – gravy, all without adding flour or making a roux. Give it a taste and see what you think; add additional seasoning if you think it’s needed.
We had ours with parsleyed potatoes and braised endive. To be honest, the endive was not one of my favorite things – next time, I’ll stick to stuffing it with some nice blue cheese and toasted walnuts, or mebbe I’ll grill it with a bit of good balsamic vinegar – but the rest of the dinner was just about perfect.
Of course, a whole roast chicken for just two folk means leftovers; and if you’ll recall from Friday’s post, I also have some flatbread dough sitting in the fridge.
As it happens, I do have an idea of what to do with that leftover dough, and the chicken as well… but, I need to put one more thing together first.