Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter comfort foods: Herbed Roasted Chicken

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest chicken fan. It can be dry, tasteless, and boring. But there is something special about juicy roasted chicken. I once knew somebody who couldn't be near chicken if it was still on the bone. It reminded her too much of the chick when it was alive. Me on the other hand, I prefer chicken on the bone and have none of the moral qualms of eating an animal that still resembles its living self. (Except perhaps pig's head-- even a year in China couldn't get me used to seeing, much less eating, roasted pig's head).

Anyway, the idea of roasted chicken sounded comforting given the chilly weather lately. Plus it gave me an opportunity to try out my new chicken roasting dish (cute, innit?); this month's free gift from our favorite wine club, Robert Sinskey in Napa. The following is Maria Sinskey's recipe for juicy chicken.

I started with a 4 pound chicken and gently pulled away the skin from the meat. I chopped up sage, rosemary, and thyme in my handy mezzaluna, added olive oil, salt and pepper to my herbs, and rubbed the herb mixture underneath the skin. I filled the cavity with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, and herb sprigs. I rubbed oil and a little more salt and pepper over the entire bird, then roasted for about an hour and twenty minutes at 425, adding carrots and more onions to the roasting dish.

For side dishes I made herbed saffron rice and fennel with mustard seed. For the fennel I quartered the bulbs. On the stove I heated mustard seeds until fragrant and popping, added chicken stock, white wine, a bit of honey, salt and pepper and the fennel bulbs and simmered for 45 minutes.

Our libation of the evening was Robert Sinskey 2005 Los Carneros Merlot. Lots of cedar and spice on the nose, earth and smoke on the palate. Fruits were dark but muted, plum, some violets, with soft leather and semi-sweet cocoa on the finish.

Sometimes it's nice to stay in, even on a Saturday night.


A said...

ha ha ha ...before reading the text I saw the picture of the roasting pan and thought - how cute is that?