Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ruby Red Roast Chicken w/ Rosemary

Who doesn't love an alliterative supper? You'll remember, I told you to "stay tuned" for the candied carrots w/ roast chicken that are so good I fight the children for them... Well, I ended up going a little off-script for this recipe. However, the secret to those awesomely charred and caramelized, yummy-delicious roast carrots is contained herein, so bear with me.

Grapefruits have been good this year. Really good. Really grapefruit-y.

...who am I kidding. You want to know what? I don't actually care for grapefruit much. (GASP!) Yup. I said it. I know. I'm from Texas, where probably the best grapefruit in the world is grown :). And I don't really like it all that much.

Well, to be honest, I do like grapefruit flavor imparted on other things. Like a gin & tonic.

And also chicken, it turns out! Here's what I did:

(Warning: This is more a rambling food journal post than a recipe, but you can probably follow along and end up with a tasty meal of some sort.)

Take a 3-4 lb bird. You never really want more than 4 lbs -- that's just too big. And the meat dries out faster, in my experience. Or just isn't as juicy to begin with; I'm not sure. Actually, the closer to 3 lbs, the better, though this size can be hard to find. And the fresher the better, if that's not too much stating the obvious. Once-frozen meat never cooks as well as fresh.

Okay. Take your little bird and rinse it. Pat it good and dry. Then rub about 2 TB kosher salt all over it, inside and out. Best-case scenario, you're doing this up to 24 hours in advance of cooking; but the morning before you cook it for dinner, or even early that afternoon is okay, too.

Separate the skin a bit from the breast meat and make room for 4" fresh rosemary sprigs over each side; stick 'em in there. Place two more sprigs inside the body cavity. I also saved the peel from the grapefruit and put several "sticks" of that in there, too. Next, slice the peeled grapefruit and put all but two thick slices inside. You can never go wrong with peeled cloves of garlic, either. Don't be afraid to really fill 'er up! All this flavor is going to infuse the meat, and it's gonna be great.

At this point, let the chicken rest in the fridge until you're ready to cook. Cover it tightly w/ plastic wrap or stick it in a big ziplock bag. 

You'll want the oven preheated to 450 degrees F.

Get your bird back out of the fridge, and rub a couple of teaspoons ground black pepper all over it. You can dust a bit of the salt off here too, if you want. Or not. Course-chop several carrots. Potatoes, sweet potatoes; I even added in red cabbage with this meal -- use what you've got. But do take note: the cabbage, and perhaps the water content from the grapefruit thwarted the usually charred/candied carrot effect. They were good carrots in the end. Just not worth fighting over. If you want that kind, then leave out the cabbage and cut back on the amount of grapefruit inside the bird. 

Toss those veggies into a roasting pan. I LOVE our All-Clad for this. A large cast-iron skillet would work well, too.

Truss it up, if you like -- secure the drumstick ends and double back to secure the wings underneath, like so:

It's not the end of the world if you don't truss. It's worked fine for me without, but it feels fancier to truss a bird before roasting it, I guess.
Now, just rest the chicken, breast side up, right on top of the veggies in the pan. Put a couple of thick slices of grapefruit on top. Drizzle the top w/ olive oil (1-2 TB?). And put it on the second-to-lowest rack in the oven at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Ready to roast. A bit of grapefruit peel amongst the chopped veggies, which flavored them nicely -- but not for eating. Very bitter.
After 30 minutes, assess: If the skin is getting charred, lower the rack down to the lowest position. If the veggies at the bottom are too dry and getting crispy, put a few pats of butter or sprinkles of olive oil or a splash of chicken broth in there. But they'll probably be fine. 

Lower the temperature to 425 degrees and roast for another 45 minutes. Your kitchen smells amazing.

When you take the chicken out, you can test the temp if you want. You should probably test the temp. 160 degrees in the middle of a breast, right? (I don't do this anymore, though, and we're all still alive.) 

Take it out, but do not cut into it right away. This does something to the juiciness of it... You need to "tent" it with foil, letting a bit of steam escape, and wait 10 minutes. Which is fine for me. It takes at least that long to get everyone around here in a state fit to enjoy such a fine meal.


Now, this was last night's dinner, and actually we didn't all get to sit down together. Ingrid and I ran off to a Girl Scout meeting while it was still in the oven, and Josh fed the younger two while we were gone. All that to say, I don't have a lovely photo of a golden-brown roast chicken w/ veggie garnish, ready to eat. I've got a photo of a carved chicken breast, with roasted grapefruit on top, that I just took a bite of. Sorry!

Roasted grapefruit was quite good!
This made such a perfectly juicy roast. I will definitely be making it again. And I may try a recipe for just plain roasted grapefruit now, too. OH yeah - serve w/ a tasty and citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc. Veramonte is a good (and cheap) one I've found. Or a gin & tonic w/ a grapefruit twist. Whichever!

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