Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hit and Miss Chicken and Potatoes

Did you miss me? It's been a long two weeks without posting (and an even longer two weeks without doing much cooking beyond grilling hot dogs). The summer got super busy with big projects at work, friends in town and festivals starting. So I haven't been home a lot lately and I haven't had time to make our usual yummy meals. Now there are only a few days left in the month, and then I'm going to take another brief hiatus when I head to Santa Barbara next weekend. I'm sure my loyal followers are heartbroken, but I promise I'll come back with a vengeance after the Fourth of July!

Since I have a little more downtime this week, I was anxious to start menu planning and get my butt back in the kitchen! I have a TON of recipes on the list, but obviously won't get to all of them before I leave for vacation on Friday. What I figured I can accomplish this week is:
  • Crispy Roasted Chicken
  • Corn Chowder
  • Artichoke and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts
If I listed all of the things I want to make but won't have time for, we'd be here all day (like Key Lime Bars, Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Parfaits, Lemon Crumb Cake, Mocha Cake, Monkey Muffins ... ok, I'll stop).

So to get back on track, I made Crispy Roasted Chicken last night. This was another delicious recipe from America's Test Kitchen, but it was a little bit of a hit and a miss. I'll explain in my notes that follow the recipe.

Crispy Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon paprika
1 whole roasting chicken (about 4 lbs.)
2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 teaspoons olive oil

Line roasting pan with foil, folding it over the edges of the pan. Adjust oven rack so that top of pan will be about 6 inches from the broiler (assuming your broiler element is at the top of the oven like mine is). Heat oven to 475 degrees and place roasting pan inside. Spray a V-rack with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, salt and paprika. Set aside.

Remove giblets from chicken, rinse inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken all over with cornstarch-salt mixture. Set the chicken on its side, wing-side up, in prepared V-rack. Place V-rack in roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss potatoes with olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using a wad of paper towels, flip the chicken onto its other side, and roast, other wing-side up, for 15 minutes.

Remove V-rack from roasting pan and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove foil and collected juices from bottom of roasting pan and discard. Arrange potatoes on bottom of pan and replace V-rack on top. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, until themometer inserted in chicken's breast reads 180 degrees.

Remove roasting pan from oven. Lift chicken from pan, allowing juices from cavity to drain over potatoes. Stand chicken up on the insert of a bundt pan, or over an empty soda can (this allows any remaining juices to drain from bird, so it's not greasy). Return potatoes to oven and roast 10 minutes while chicken cools.

Carve chicken and serve with potatoes.

So here's the thing. I don't typically eat chicken skin because I think that's gross. So while my chicken looked beautifully golden and crisp-skinned, I can't say whether or not that was true. (Although Bill sure seemed to enjoy it, so let's just say I succeeded with the crispiness.) I can say, however, that the meat was super tender and moist, just like a good roasted chicken should be.

That was the hit. Now here's the miss (sort of). I, of course, saw no need to roast 2 pounds of potatoes for 2 people. So I halved the number of potatoes I was making, which maybe means I shouldn't have cooked them quite so long. Because some of those potatoes turned out awfully brown (ok, black) on the outside. I'm not going to say I burnt them because they didn't taste burnt ... they tasted perfectly crisp and delicious on the outside and really smooth and creamy on the inside. They just weren't very pretty.

I also thought I'd toss some Brussels sprouts in the mix, which, in hindsight, was not a very good idea. My usual roasted Brussels sprouts recipe calls for sauteeing them on the stove for a few minutes, and then popping them in the oven in a cast iron skillet for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. I simply tossed them in with the potatoes at the bottom of the pan, and 35 minutes at 475 degrees later, I had charred Brussels sprouts scattered throughout my potatoes. Whoops. I forgot about the increased temperature and time. Needless to say, we didn't eat those sprouts. But at least the rest of the meal was mostly successful!

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