Thursday, May 14, 2009

union square herb roasted chicken

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.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- 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.

the verdict:

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.

15 comments:

Megan said...

You can't beat a good roast chicken.

And it does look like a great one, with all those juices - mmm, gravy!

What's for Supper? said...

This looks really, really good. I need to get over my fear or disgust of handling a whole chicken. I know it sounds ridiculous. I love chicken but always just buy a rotissiere chicken so that I don't have to touch a raw, whole one! I think that I am going to attempt this soon.

Cristine said...

That chicken looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it!

Eliana said...

The union square cafe is an incredible restaurant so I'm not surprised this recipe was a success for you. It looks very yummy!

Cathy said...

There is nothing better than a great roast chicken. The Union Square Cafe cookbook seems like it produces winner after winner; I might need to add it to my list. This chicken looks delicious! Hope you had success enjoying it roasted a second day.

pinkstripes said...

Looks wonderful. I love your farm box so much. I wish we had something similar here.

Mary Ann said...

I really like the fact that you used fresh, farm food. (I didn't mean for that to be triple f's). I am so interested in doing this too. I am sure it had something to do with the quality of the taste too.
It looks wonderful. I could have used one of these tonight!

Does Moores only have pickups in Atlanta? We are moving to Athens in about 2 weeks and I am wondering if I could get on board somehow.
I will have to check it out. Thanks for adding all the links!

Pam said...

That sounds good! I'm trying a Jamie Oliver recipe this weekend for roasted chicken.

AmyRuth said...

Nancy, I too love roast chicken. The whole 1-2-3 the preparing, roasting aroma and the eating. I tend to agree that largely the resulting "wonderfulness" was in part due to your chicken product. Once I bought a particular chicken here in Columbia, MO and I learned there really is a difference. However, you and your recipe had bit to do with the end result. clap clap Did your husband love it? Looks so wonderful.
AmyRuth

AmyRuth said...

One more thing....a really quick and simple RC is in Barefoot Contessa's collection with lemon and onion and croutons. Pretty tasty.
AmyRuth

Audrey said...

You know, this is something I never do (at least not a whole chicken), and I should! I do keep reading that being able to roast chicken well is one of the tests of a great chef, so that fits! :) This looks SO good, and if you have any leftover, and some good bread (maybe something with cornmeal? !!!), you can of course make an incredible sandwich!

Natashya said...

I love a roast chicken! So jealous of your CSA box. Why isn't there a program like that here?

Joanne said...

I need to stop being so afraid of roasting a whole chicken. I think this fear stems from the fact that the one time I told my dad I was going to buy one, he told me there probably wouldn't be that much of the entrails left inside it, but I should make sure to stick my hand in and clean it nonetheless. I bought leg quarters instead.

However, since I'll be living with them for a month after graduation, I can just have him do the cleaning. That really sounds like the best solution.

Glad to hear you found a stellar recipe though! Between you, Pam, and Jenny at least I'll know which roast chicken recipe I should use.

karen said...

roasted chicken is one of the best things ever. after reading about your farm box, i've been researching for something like it in my local area and i think i may have found a good one. we're going by there on wednesday to check it out. so thank you so much for posting about your experiences with yours. :)

Kayte said...

Looks really good...recipe and chicken combo is always excellent...there is something to be said about getting chickens from fresh venues and not from the general aisles at the supermarket...a whole different taste. A farm girl would know. Great job on the chicken. I have been seasoning my meat when I bring it home, too...it does add an extra something. Sold.