Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chicken Night

Tonight, I went all out with the chicken.

In addition to tackling the Roast Chicken again, I tried the Poulet Saute' Chasseur (Sauteed Chicken with Shallots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Tarragon) from the Chicken 101 class. More specifically, I tried the chicken part. I didn't have mushrooms or tarragon in the house, but what I really wanted to practice was pounding the chicken properly.

Wow. The joke just writes itself, doesn't it? Ahem.

There was nothing exciting about the roast chicken except that I did it completely correctly this time. I went by time, rather than temperature only as I did last time. At 20 min/pound, I cooked it for 2 hours, 20 minutes. While the internal temp was insanely high (200-something), it came out really well. I think I over-compensated a bit (though the time was pretty accurate) and I may have been touching a bone when measuring. Again, something to practice.
Instead of my big turkey roaster, I opted for a smaller lasagna pan I had. My roasting rack from our Weber grill fit, so the area of the pan was cut in about half. This made it much, much easier to baste.

We didn't eat the bird that night, but I used the meat the next night tossed with some pasta and spinach. But I tasted pieces of breast and thigh the evening of the cooking and it was decently juicy and taste. And then, of course, the carcass went to stock.

So, for what we did eat. I'd never used the proper technique when pounding out chicken. As I think I mentioned in the Chicken 101 entry, you're supposed to flatten the chicken with strokes of the mallet (strike and pull to the side) instead of hammering it like a nail. This worked really well. For this, you then dredge the breast in a little olive oil and then saute' it (though, really, it seemed more like pan frying).

The "sauteeing" worked out well. As with all things I cooking in a saute or omelette pan, the first one was a wash - a little undercooked for the flour coating on one side (the chicken was fine, though).

I then followed The Joy of Cooking's recipe for gravy which worked out really, really well. From memory, you deglaze the pan with white wine, bring to a simmer and whisk in flour. The thickness of the gravy depends on the amount of flour and the thickening takes a few moments after it's whisked in. It came out a little thick, as I didn't wait long enough, but it was very, very close to perfect.

This is the third time I've ended up with undercooked rice in the last month. I think I just got a bad bag. Like it's too old and dried out or something. I usually don't have a problem with rice at all. Of course, on those (formerly rare) I screw up, I think of Keith on Survivor: Australia who proclaimed he was a fantastic chef and then couldn't make decent rice to save his life.

1 comment:

Johanna said...

I want the recipe for Sauteed Chicken with Shallots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Tarragon! Did I miss it?