Sunday, January 17, 2010

Roast Chicken Part I

My brother got me a cookbook for Christmas, called The Pleasures of Cooking For One. I was thrilled, and spent a good bit of Christmas afternoon thumbing through the recipes. It's set up so that you cook the first recipe - a meat of some sort, usually - and then there are two or three recipes afterwards that use the leftovers. That way, if you are only one person (which I am) you don't have to eat the same meal for a whole week (which is usually what I do). 

It can be hard to cut down recipes that are made for 8 servings - because you end up with odd amounts, like 1/3 an egg or 1/8 can of beans. And grocery stores don't sell ingredients in single-serve amounts - unless, of course, you are buying Lean Cuisine. But I want to cook, not microwave a plastic tray! So I was excited about the cookbook.

It's written by a French cook, so everything is prepared from scratch and the recipes include such things as "veal tongue" and "sweetbread." As an aside, let me remark that I actually though sweetbread was, you know, sweet and a bread. But no, a Google search returns some really unsavory images of calf parts I never considered edible. Putting those recipes aside, for my first stab at things I settled on broiled chicken. 

I've never made a whole chicken before. But I got myself a broiler pan and gave it a whirl:

I did my best to follow the instructions for preparing the raw chicken. I minced up the herbal undercoating, spread the herbs under the skin and let it marinate for a few hours. Then you preheat the broiler, and pop it in for 20-35 minutes or so. After cooking side one:

Ooh, not bad. I chopped up some veggies and roasted them alongside the chicken while the second side cooked:

Then pulled the whole thing out of the oven after the second side had cooked and crisped up (maybe burnt? eep!):

Now that is a good looking piece of chicken:

And the final meal was delicious. The meat had tenderized and soaked up all those nutritious juices in the skin... Sweet, fresh, piping hot - so much better than the dry white chicken breast I usually cook up in the skillet:

I was left with lots of leftovers, and lots of enthusiasm for trying out the rest of the recipes in the section!

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