Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chef Bill

He doesn't do it very often, but Chef Bill made an appearance in my kitchen tonight. I'm sure it's because he has a minor man crush on Tyler Florence and couldn't resist browsing his cookbook after I made the Sesame Chicken Salad the other night.

So Bill chose Tyler's Ultimate Roast Chicken Provencal, which I thought was a pretty daring selection since roasting a chicken isn't exactly entry-level work. But I suppose I should give Bill more credit because he has mastered a few things, like Mario Batali's Basic Tomato Sauce. (Do you notice a trend with Bill and the Food Network chefs?)

Roast Chicken Provencal
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh, flat leaf parsley
Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh tarragon
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 whole chicken
1 lemon, halved, plus 1/2 lemon, sliced paper thin
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil

Pregeat oven to 400 degrees.

Throw the parsley, thyme, tarragon, garlic and olive oil in a blender, season with salt and pepper, and puree to a paste.

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Set the chicken on a cutting board and season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the lemon halves in the cavity. Fold the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs with kitchen string to give it a nice shape while it cooks. Rub the chicken with the herb paste so it's well coated.

Put the chicken in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack and scatter the tomatoes, zucchini, onion, lemon slices and thyme around it. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, about 1/4 cup, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour. Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees.

Remove from oven and allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving so the juices have a chance redistribute. Serve with the roasted vegetables.

I'll go on record as saying that I thought this was a delicious dinner. Bill on the other hand, with his celebrity chef aspirations, never thinks his meals are good enough. I believe his exact words after his first bite were a crestfallen "Tastes like chicken." I'm not sure what exactly he's expecting (especially since it was chicken), but he's typically (unnecessarily and unreasonably) disappointed. I don't think he's giving himself enough credit. Don't get me wrong, he's definitely had his kitchen missteps ... and I don't have time to recount them all here :) But he's had some real wins - like this one - too.

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