Monday, May 24, 2010

Roast Chicken Provencale

Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning (a vast 3 months ago) probably recall seeing a posting about our weekly subscription to a local farm's produce supply (called community-supported agriculture, or CSA for short). This season, in addition to fruits and vegetables, we opted to sign up for farm-fresh chickens a few times as well. We were supposed to get two chickens in April and two in May, but due to an unforeseen mishap at the farm (unplugged freezer), I ended up bringing four whole chickens home this month. I had no idea what condition the chickens would be in when I received them (e.g., Will the head and feet still be attached? Should I invest in a blowtorch to burn off the feathers?), so you can imagine my relative relief when they arrived pretty much ready to throw in the oven, much like you would expect to see in shrink-wrap at Large Corporate Grocery Store.

The recipe I saved up for the first chicken was Tyler Florence's Ultimate Roast Chicken Provencal. The prep for the recipe basically consists of an herb paste slathered all over the bird while surrounding it with large quantities of sliced lemon and vegetables in the roasting pan. At the end of cooking, it came out of the oven looking great and didn't taste half-bad, either (although I think it looked a little better than what my mouth actually experienced). Here are a few things that I learned this time around:

1. No matter how long I try to completely thaw a frozen chicken (almost 48 hours in this case, a combo of refrigerator and thawing at room temp), I still can't seem to get the damn thing to cook all the way through in places - this time was no exception as it was pink/a little red deep in the thigh area. Fortunately, no one in the Hackknife household has been food poisoned by undercooked chicken as yet; however, I remain perplexed as to how to completely roast bone-in chicken without drying it out. Any suggestions/tips from you dear readers would be greatly appreciated.

2. We need a bigger roasting pan in the commissary. The vegetables were practically spilling out of the pan and I don't think they had enough space to all roast well enough.

3. Even the best-sounding, non-fried chicken recipe still results in, well, not-so-exciting chicken. I have a couple of bistro-style chicken recipes that are slated for the next ones, so we'll see if they're any more vibrant flavor-wise.

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