I wanted to test an idea I had for corn bread and cider stuffing, so decided to make an early Turkey Day inspired dinner.
The green beans? Nice, and they will be on our table once the Big Day arrives.
The stuffing, also nice, but a bit dry (I shoulda added some chicken stock along with the cider) – check it out on Friday.
The chicken? Practically perfect in every way! I may even try this for a turkey.
Note: I based parts of this recipe on the barefoot contessa‘s “Perfect Roast Chicken”; adjusting ingredients and cooking times to suit the flavor I was going for and what else was going on in my oven that day.
•1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
•Freshly ground black pepper
•Fresh sage (a good handful)
•1 apple, quartered
•1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
•2 tbsp butter, melted
•1 sweet onion, thickly sliced
•4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
*Obviously, if you’re gonna try this with a trukey, you’re gonna need to adjust your veggies and cooking times. I would suggest doubling your garlic, apple, and other veggies, and then consulting a good turkey roasting chart for times.
First, heat your oven to 375º, and remove the giblets from the chicken and set aside for gravy making (or toss).
Whether to rinse the bird or not has become a big debate of late; I did rinse mine (carefully) because I wanted some of the wet to help hold on to the salt and pepper. Was I right? Who can say? But this chicken was pretty darned tasty!
Arrange the onion and carrot in the bottom of a roasting dish, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Season the chicken well inside and out with the salt and pepper, then stuff the cavity with the apple, garlic, and sage leaves. I had some apple that wouldn’t fit, so I just tossed it into the pan with the onion and carrots.
Brush the outside with the melted butter – I used this Wisconsin garlic and basil butter I came across in the cheese case at my market – then season the outside with salt and pepper again.
Arrange the chicken on top of the veggies; I went for breast down, which worked a treat. Yes, you don’t have this picture perfect whole chicken to present to the admiring masses at the table but… let’s think about this. Have you ever presented a whole bird, uncarved, at the table?
I haven’t. There’s too much going on in the dining room and the kitchen to do much more than carve the beast on site, then arrange it on a platter and present the fait accompli to your guests before Mable and Martha can really start going at it over who’s celery is stringy (true Turkey Day argument – tho’ the names have been changed to protect the rest of us).
I any event, roast the bird for two hours*, then remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for twenty or thirty minutes.
*Your bird is done when the juices run clear when you make a cut between a leg and a thigh, or, when your handy-dandy instant read thermometer shows around 155º when you pull it from the oven and 165º after resting (yes, the chicken will continue to cook a bit after pulling from the oven).
Carve, arrange on a platter, and serve.
I will admit, the bird we bought at Trader Joe’s is really hard to beat for flavor anyway, but the apple and sage and the (very subtle, but there) garlic flavors were a prefect blend, and the simple salt, pepper, and just a bit of butter seasoning was also very good. Every piece the of the chicken was cooked through and still very juicy; due to, I believe, roasting breast down. I read an article which suggested preparing two smaller turkeys instead of one huge one, and believe that this is definitely gonna be how one or my birds is getting done come the big day.
With our mini-feast, we enjoyed a bottle of one of my favorite red wines, a Côte du Rhône, sold kinda unbelievably cheaply at Trader Joe’s.