Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Eats Challenge Week 4: Roast Chicken and Cesar Salad

Since I am worn out from the back yard I thought I'd catch up on my blogging and finally get around to posting last Friday's Good Eats Challenge (you can read the back story to this here). This week is week 4 and we decided to make two recipes this week: Caesar Salad (Season 1 Episode 4) and the Roast Chicken (1.5). 

In the spirit of following his recipes to the tee we went all out on this one and even made croutons (apparently that is what makes french cooks look down on us, our penchant for buying pre-made croutons). 

They are pretty easy:

Cut up a loaf of day old bread, bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (until the bread is nice and dry) and then fry them in a pan with 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 8 tbs of EVOO (that's extra virgin olive oil for those of you who aren't Rachael Ray fans). 

Now, put the croutons aside and let's focus on the chicken.

Step 1: Butterfly a 3-4 pound chicken. You'll need a good pair of shears for this as you will basically be taking out the backbone. I suggest watching this YouTube video if you've never done it before (or just watch the show, he shows you how to as well).

Step 2: Loosen the skin by sliding your finger between the skin and the meat. You don't want to pull it off, just get it loose.

Step 3: Make your gremolata (we used the mortar and pestle because that is what he used). Corsely grid 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 3 medium cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, zest of one lemon, and 1 tsp chopped parsley with 2 tbs olive oil. Like so

Step 4: place one spoonful of the mixture in between the skin and meat of both breasts and thighs. Just work in around with your fingers so that it gets spread out a bit. Sprinkle the skin and underside with a little more salt and oil.

Step 5: Place chicken breast side up on a bead of 1 onion, 3 carrots, and 1 celery heart. Like so

See my toasty croutons in the back? Yum!

Step 6: (we deviated from this) Position top rack of oven 8 inches under the broiler and crank it to high. Broil 25 min on each side or until meat registers 160F. Since our oven is gas and has an under oven broiler we just roasted at 425 for 25 minutes on each side.

Step 7: Remove chicken and let rest covered in foil. Straddle pan over two burners and turn them on medium high. Deglaze pan with 1 cup red wine and 1 cup chicken stock. Remove veggies and toss. Reduce liquid to 1 cup. Like so

Step 8: Serve chicken as half or quarters with Jus on the side.

Since we are adding the Cesar Salad I made this while Daniel made the jus.

Cesar Salad: (Warning: this has under cooked eggs in it so be mindful if you are immune compromised or young to either stick to pasteurized eggs or bottled dressing)

Step 1: Bring 2 cups of water to boil and toss in 2 eggs for 1 minute. Remove and place in an ice bath to cool. Now you have your coddled eggs.

Step 2: Assemble your ingredients to make table side.

You will need

  • 1 pound cut and washed romaine hearts
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce'
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Coddled eggs
  • Croutons

Basically the next step is to toss it all together to build your dressing. It was fun doing it this way and it really coated the lettuce well. 

Step 3:  Just follow the steps tossing each until the lettuce is completely coated. Toss in 2 tbs olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with another 2 tbs of oil, then add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce tossing away, break in your eggs and keep tossing until a creamy dressing forms. Lastly toss in Parmesan and croutons and serve.

Results? Amazing! Definitely the best chicken and Cesar salad I've ever had. The dressing was subtle and smooth and the chicken was deliciously flavorful. I'm filing this in the will make again file. The nice thing is that the chicken recipe can be tweaked for any flavors you want. Putting the seasoning under the skin ensures that it wont burn and will seep into the meat just a little bit more.

I'm calling it a success! Join me next week for Ice Cream!