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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Half Roast Chicken With Winter Vegetables

Split chicken tied and roasted with fresh vegetables in the same pot. This is a simple dish but a delicious one. The trick is to start the chicken in a hot pan and let it sear so all the juices stay inside the meat. That way you end up with a crispy yet moist chicken just like your mother used to make for dinner in the old days. As for the vegetables, they need to be added incrementally so as the ones that take the longest to cook are added first and so on. I say this is a simple dish but there are a few things to watch out for. If you don't maintain a steady and high heat ( but not high enough to burn of course ) the squash will shed water and your dish will be ruined. It is very important to keep everything on a sizzle so nothing boils and everything roasts. You can also add the neck of the chicken to the pan to make the sauce afterwards. Also, during the cooking you can add whole peeled garlic( it will sweeten with cooking and lose the heavy garlic taste so don't worry) bay leaf and a sprig of thyme. Don't salt the chicken until it is seared. This helps the flavor a lot.
Buy a good chicken and some very fresh vegetables for this dish. Start your chicken at about 400 or so and when it is seared you can lower the heat. Bring the heat back up again when you add the vegetables to compensate for the cold vegetables.
When it is all cooked remove the chicken and vegetables from the roaster, add some white wine, reduce it by half and then add some water and simmer it until the flavors intensify. You will find that the sediment in the bottom of the pan from the chicken and vegetables will make a fine gravy like sauce.
A nice merlot will go well with this as will a good glass of microbrew beer.

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