My farm box pe0ple have been working very hard to find a good source of pasture-raised poultry to offer to us members. They located a wonderful farm and were able to purchase a load of chickens, which they have offered for order. There may not be another opportunity to obtain chickens from that farm until the end of summer, so I've purchased several (which come frozen, per state regulations). As a result, I'm embarking on a whole-chicken cooking adventure. While I know that I could cut these chicken up, and cook them in any number of ways (and I might do that), I really love the smell and taste of a roast chicken - and I love using the leftover meat for soups and other dishes, and the bones for making stock.
After looking through a bunch of my cookbooks (and really, doesn't every cookbook have a method of roasting chicken?) I settled on an enticing recipe from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook. You can find the recipe embedded in this interesting article, "In Search of the Perfect Roast Chicken" which compares several roast chicken recipes.
- Two keys to this recipe: season the chicken with salt and pepper well in advance of cooking it, and add the vegetables after the chicken has cooked part way.
- I didn't have tarragon, so subbed some oregano and sage, both of which I have in my herb garden in abundance.
- the pan juices were very thin once I added the requisite 2 cups of stock.
This was the best roast chicken that I've ever made. I'm not sure how much of the deliciousness comes from the quality of this chicken and how much from the cooking method, however.
The meat was tender and moist and, while the pan juices had fantastic savory flavor I might be tempted to thicken them up and make more of a gravy from them. Mmm, gravy!
Although this is a very early stage in my roast chicken quest, I can say that Union Square has come up with a solid recipe that makes an excellent roast chicken.
As a foot note, Jenny from All Things Edible, has been on the search for the perfect roast chicken, and you can read about her latest adventure.