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Monday, December 5, 2011

Turmeric Roast Chicken: Rotisserie Style

This is the first chicken I've eaten, and cooked for that matter, in four years. My last bite of meat was a skirt steak at ad hoc on our honeymoon. My trip into vegetarianism wasn't a conscious decision at first. It happened slowly as animal meat sounded less and less yummy and I realized I wasn't buying it at the market or craving a juicy burger like I used to. I got the memo pretty fast that my body (not everybody's) doesn't like a lot of animal meat. I feel better without it and really don't think about it very much.

Then one day I started thinking about roast chicken. It suddenly sounded delicious again and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I realized my body was trying to tell me something so I went out to the market and tracked down the happiest chicken I could find. It had a nice local farm life and I didn't feel awful bringing it home, gut check #1. Gut check #2 came when I cleaned the bird, removed the gizzards, and prepared it for the oven. It all felt fine.

 Turmeric Roast Chicken: Rotisserie Style

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
coarse salt
1 organic whole chicken (3-4 pounds), washed and dried
glug white wine

Wash the chicken carefully. Wet it with cold water and then scrub it with a handful of coarse kosher or rock salt. Rinse it with more water and pat it completely dry, inside and out, with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and turmeric. Gently separate the skin from the breast by inserting your fingers between the skin and breast and breaking the facia. This will lead to crispier skin. Rub the butter all over the chicken, including a bit between the breast and the skin. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and tie one piece of kitchen twine around them to secure them. Tie the legs together with another piece of kitchen twine.

Put the chicken on its side (resting on its thigh and wing) in a large heavy roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes. Turn it onto its other side and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of water. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for an additional 25 minutes. Turn it on its back and roast for 10 minutes. Turn it onto its breast and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest breast side down for at least 15 minutes. Carve, serve with pan sauce, and Lentil Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Pour pan drippings into a small sauce pan and skim fat off the top. Cook down pan drippings for a few minutes so it thickens slightly. Add a glug of white wine and simmer for another two minutes. Turn heat off and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter, a sprinkle of salt, and grind of pepper. Pour over carved chicken.

Yes, the chicken was delicious and I enjoyed eating it. Not sure when I'll cook one again...we'll see if this little craving sticks around.

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