Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trapped in the Closet or How to Pan Roast Chicken

We have all heard of the game "7 Minutes in Heaven" right?  Well, due to some unfortunate happenings that turned into "A Fortnight in Hell" for the Cooker one fateful summer.  Lets be honest fellow cookers, spending 2 weeks Trapped in a Closet with someone is about as far from heaven as you can get.  Somewhere between trying to eat the twizzlers that were forced under the door and trying to discreetly defecate in the corner the Cooker had a moment of clarity.  Nothing else can show off the personality, skill and values of a cook better than the humble whole chicken.  It was shortly after this epiphany that Cooker decided enough was enough, broke the curtain rod down and punched his way down through the floor to freedom.

The next day after a nice long, hot-bleach shower (The Cooker can still feel her beard) it was off to the store for the ingredients.  This is where the personality start to show.  The Cooker likes his Chicken simple, so Mirepoix, Garlic, Butter, Vegetable Broth, Salt and a Chicken go into the cart.  What about Rosemary you ask?  Is the skin going to be crispy?  This is the Cooker's Chicken.  Not yours.  The Cooker likes his Chicken simple, moist and flavorful but wants to taste the chicken.  Also, the Cooker does not care about crispy skin.  If you like crispy skin and Rosemary on your Chicken you are more than welcome to do it up on yours.  There will be notes on how to do so if you wish.  This Chicken strives to infuse as much aromatic flavor and juiciness into itself as possible without spending all day.

Remember, you can make roast chicken however you like.  This is a good place to start from that will yield tasty, moist results every time.  Some variations follow this recipe so check those out and let the personality of your own Workshop show through.

Tie the legs up so that the bird cooks more evenly

Good hot pan, room temp Chicken, quality sear forthcoming

Nicely browned on one side, second side is ready to go

While the Chicken is Searing, the Mirepoix is made ready

The Chicken placed safely to the side while the Mirepoix is sauteed a bit in the same pan

The Chicken then gets a Mirepoix Bed and the Chicken is put breast side down

Chicken et al after its time in the oven

The Bird Resting on a cutting board awaiting the carving portion

Vegetable Broth simmering with the now roasted Mirepoix and Drippings

The carved bird awaiting the Cooker's Tum Tum

The Jus resulting from straining the veggies and fat from the pan sauce

General Notes:

Serves: 2 - 4 depending on how big a bird you get
Prep Time:  1 - 4 hours, but very little is hands on
General:  It is best to start with a chicken that you have rinsed, dried, salted and then let come up to room temperature.  You can omit nearly any of those steps it will just affect the quality of the final product as well as the cooking times slightly.  The only step you should never omit is drying the bird.  You will be unable to get a good sear on your bird without it being dry first.

  • Oven Safe Pan that is big enough to comfortably hold the bird and mirepoix
  • Two Cutting boards, one for the bird and one for the veggies.  Do not mix the two, that could mean bad times for your stomach and subsequently your bathroom.
  • Chef's knife
  • Butcher's twine or oven safe rubber bands.
  • Fat Seperator, This is optional but very handy
  • Stove/oven combo
  • A trusty pair of tongs
  • 1/2 a Yellow Onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, rinsed
  • 1 Medium Sized Carrot, rinsed and sliced
  • 8 ounces of Vegetable broth but Chicken is traditional
  • 2 - 3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • Canola Oil for Searing Chicken
  • 1 5 - 6 lbs Whole Chicken
Written Instructions:
  • Starting with a clean kitchen, bring out the chicken, twine, and salt
  • Remove the bird from its packaging, remove any kind of giblet surprises, rinse it well and then dry the living hell out of it with some paper towels.  Keep in mind that touching chicken is no joke, so do not lick your chickeny hands while doing this and also do not touch your entire kitchen with your chicken hands.
  • Fairly aggressively salt the bird all over and inside as well
  • Truss the chicken and let it hang out somewhere out of the way it has come up to room temperature (1 - 3 hours) and you are ready to cook it up
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Put your fry pan on the stove and let it heat up over medium heat
  • Bring out the rest of your ingredients
  • Making sure that your bird is very dry, add some canola oil to the pan and quickly but carefully put the bird in breast side down
  • Leave the bird alone for 4 - 5 minutes to let it get good and seared, this is no time to be timid
  • While the bird is searing, with your clean hands, prepare your mirepoix, go for 1/4 slices on your veggies
  • When you are satisfied with the sear on the breast side, carefully lift the bird from the pan, hold it above the pan for a few moments to let the pan heat up a bit again, and then put the bird back down on its back this time
  • A quick note about lifting the bird, the Cooker generally puts one side of the tong into the cavity to lift the bird without tearing the skin
  • When you are satisfied with the sear on the back move your bird out of the pan and onto a plate or something to hang out until its trip to the oven
  • Add your mirepoix to the now vacated pan and saute until your veggies start turning a little translucent
  • When you have softened them/ turned them slightly translucent add your bird back to the pan directly on top of the veggies
  • Stick half the butter into the cavity of the bird and transfer the whole shebang into your preheated oven
  • Let roast until the juices begin to run clear, or a thermometer inserted the thickest part of the thigh register 150 degrees
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return to the stove over medium heat
  • Remove the bird from the pan and let it rest on your reserved cutting board
  • Add the crushed garlic to the pan
  • Cook down whatever juices might be left in the pan until you have developed a good fond
  • Deglaze the pan with whatever broth your are using being sure to scrap up the browned bits from the bottom while pouring it in
  • Bring that mixture back up to a simmer and let reduce by about 1/4
  • Pour your broth and veggie though the strainer on the fat separator and pour the defatted liquid into a serving vessel
  • If you so desire whisk the remaining butter in the jus to give it some body
  • Carve your bird up
  • Serve your bird with your jus on the side, with a suitable starch and vegetable
  • Make it happen in your tum tum
For crispy skin,
  • run your fingers inbetween the skin and flesh to seperate the two
  • Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook breast side up
  • Keep an eye on the cooking time, it might decrease to 20 minutes or so
  • If you really want to crisp it up turn the broiler on for the last 2 or 3 minutes of the cooking process
For more woodsy Chicken
  • Add a hearty fresh herb, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, etc., to the cavity of the bird as well as to your mirepoix bed
For a winey Chicken
  • Deglaze pan with white wine before putting Chicken onto mirepoix and putting in the oven

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


HAPPY 1(One) YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!  Please send only "that paper" to the Workshop.

One year ago today the Workshop opened for blogging bidness.  Since that fateful post more than 1,000 (one thousand) people have visited the Workshop.  Or, 1(one) person has visited over 1,000 (one thousand) times.  Not exactly sure.  There have been 37 (thirty seven) posts, this marking the 38th (thirty eighth).  The Cooker's profile has been viewed 100 (one hundred) times and given disappointment 99 (ninety nine) of those times.  Cookers have come to the Workshop from all over the world and hopefully left with something worthwhile.  In a nutshell, that was 2009.

Welcome to Twenty 10.  You will be happy to know that the Cooker survived the coming of the New Year, by hiding safely and securely in the Apocalypse Bunker as has become his tradition.  While safely ensconced in the concrete walls, the Cooker had some time to reflect on the previous year and look forward to the coming one. 

2009 has been been retroactively referred to as The Hatching: The Birth of The Cooker.  Twenty 10 shall be titled Mind Blow:  The Rise of The Cooker.  The Cooker's rise will be marked by some of the following:

  • More posting with more regularity.  There is nothing worse than feeling a little, you know, irregular.
  • A logo sure to kick its way through your retinas and then make its home in your memory while making long distance phone calls.
  • Recipes.  For your nerves.
  • The possibility of a Ingredient Workshop product line to help the world enjoy delicious.
What would you the Workshop visitor like to see more of or less of?  Are you scared of the possibility of old, French, peen when visiting?  Or does that excite?  Bring da ruckus.

P.S. You can find The Ingredient Workshop on Facebook if you are of that persuasion.