Step one was to brine it. I mixed a gallon of hot water, a cup of salt, and some herbs and such that I found in the cupboard: some spicy "Mrs. Dash" that my predecessor must have liked, because he had several containers of it, plus some oregano and Italian seasoning, which I like. For the salt, I used some "pickling salt" because that's what I had. No, I don't pickle, I bought it for something else. (You'll have to ask to find out.)
After rescuing the bag of giblets from the innards, I plunged the bird into the brine, put the lid on and put it all back in the fridge. That was yesterday afternoon.
A bit ago, I dumped out the brine, and placed the chicken on a plate, and put it back in the the fridge to dry out a bit. If the skin dries out some before cooking, it makes for crispier skin, which is my goal this time.
Thursday isn't the best time to prepare this, because I have confessions at 7:30 tonight, followed by Benediction. I could try to have it all ready to eat beforehand, but that's not my idea of a relaxing, enjoyable meal. So I am timing everything for when I get back around 8:45 pm or so.
So my plan is to get everything ready -- chicken, roast potatoes and sauteed broccoli -- ahead of time, pop the bird in the oven just before confessions, and it should be close to ready when I return. I may not have allowed enough time for it to cook, but I'm less worried about that, than that it'll overcook while I'm taking care of business.
So just now, I cut up some Yukon Gold potatoes and dressed them with olive oil and more "Mrs. Dash." Look! I remembered to take a picture:
When I come back after Benediction, I'll throw these in the oven, as they'll only take about 30 minutes to cook. They'll get some generous salting beforehand.
The chicken, meanwhile, I'll prepare later with a little oil on the skin, plus some heavy salt and pepper, and some crushed garlic inside. I saw something about letting the chicken rest on cut onions; we'll see if that works (I think it'll slide off).
Then, when the chicken is resting, I'll sautee the broccoli in oil and garlic, dressed with a little Parmesan cheese. That, plus some white wine, will be dinner. Check back for details, and -- who knows? -- perhaps more pictures...
Update, 7:25 pm...
I just got the chicken ready and into the oven, here are pictures...
|Note the fresh olive oil; I drained the other bottle. Next comes the 'massage'...|
|Lots of pepper, followed by lots of salt. I didn't have enough garlic, so I'll use that in the broccoli.|
|Slicing the onions on which the hen will roost. Note I leave some brown skin on...|
|And she's ready to cook! No stuffing this time.|
OK, time for confessions!
Update, 9:17 pm...
Back from Benediction, and I check the chicken -- it shows the right temp, but the color isn't as good as I'd like. I backed off the recommended temperature of 450, which helped keep it from getting done too soon; but that may have kept the color from what I'd like.
Also, there's a fine mist of salt in several places, so I may have overdone that part, but I think it'll be OK.
The potatoes go in immediately, and while they cook, I make a libation, and have an antipasto...
But before I eat my leftover cheese and Triscuits, I mash the garlic cloves and coat the pan with olive oil, in preparation for sauteing the broccoli. It's frozen -- sorry! -- so I simply heated it a bit in the micro, and then immediately chilled it, so it keeps it's green color. We'll find out shortly if that worked...
Update, 10:20 pm...
So here's the final report.
Here I am sauteing the crushed garlic a bit, to bring out the flavor, before I toss in the broccoli...
I ended up cooking the broccoli a bit much, adding a little brown color. Here are the potatoes, right out of the oven. I might have turned them, but my Martini distracted me.
And here is the completed plate: roast chicken breast (with a bit of skin), half an onion, the potatoes, and the toasty broccoli, finished with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Oh, and I poured a bit of the pan juices over everything. And a glass of Pinot Noir to wash it all down.
So what's the verdict?
Quite good, actually!
The chicken was done; a bit more time, and it would have been overdone. Meanwhile, the dark meat was slightly undercooked. That's the problem with cooking a chicken with the breast up; if you want everything to cook evenly, cook the chicken with the breast down. Why didn't I do that this time? Because then, you don't get that lovely, crispy skin.
The broccoli, despite little bits of brown, was rather good. I'd never sauteed broccoli before; fresh would work better, but this was nice.
A lot of folks would find it all too salty, but I love salt. (My blood pressure, last time, was 120/80, thank you very much.) The skin was not crispy enough, but still pretty good.
I'm not a fan of Pinot Noir, but it worked well here.
But the real stars here were the potatoes, the onion, and the drippings. Oh, so good! I'm sitting here, wanting to go have more, but I won't, because I'm full. (Deo gratias!) I will enjoy all this again on Saturday, and I bet some leftovers will carry over to Sunday.