Posts Tagged ‘roast’
After a late start to Sunday at DUB Pies, Iggy and I made our way down to the super market to pick-up something for dinner. Right away I headed to the meat section to see if today was a cheap roast day. I wasn’t disappointed; pork shoulder was only $1.19 a pound. I’ve seen $0.89 a pound, but $1.19 is still a good deal. I grabbed a smaller, eight pound, slab of meat. Right away, I knew what the rest of the simple recipe would be.
I came-up with this a few years ago when I was home visiting Minnesota and at mother’s house without a car. My mom had left me a pork loin and a recipe. Though she seemed to over look the fact that the house was missing half the ingredients in that recipe. Undeterred, I found some apples, onions, a bit of garlic, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Put it all together in a ceramic roasting pan covered it and let the flavors come together. The result was a moist piece of meat, with a sweet apple sauce on the side, that has become my template for many a meal.
What You’ll Need:
- Some pork (shoulder, butt, loin, or whatever cut you’re in the mood for)
- A bunch of apples
- A bunch of onions
- Cider vinegar
- Fish sauce
How to Cook It:
Put the meat in a dutch oven (or some other heavy roasting device with a lid). If you have a pork shoulder, or other fatty cut of meat, be sure to put the fatty side-up so that the juices run down over the meat over the hours of cooking.
Cut some big chunks of apple and onions and fill in the sides and the space above the meat. It’ll be packed in there, but everything is going to cook way down. Throw in a bit of apple cider vinegar, maybe a quarter to half a cup. Add a little fish sauce. This is some what optional, but the umami in the fish sauce will help bring out the flavors. Tread lightly with this stuff though, while a few tablespoons will bring out the flavors, too much will be a disaster (take a wiff of the bottle and you’ll know what I mean). Give the garlic a rough chop and mix it in on the sides of the meat.
Now cover this bad boy, put it in the oven, and let it cook for hours. For a pork shoulder, target maybe 45 minutes a pound. Uncover for the last 30-45 minutes or so to give the meat a nice crisp.
The apple and onion cook way down and fall apart and mix with the pork dripping to form a sweet and savory apple sauce perfect for pork. After hours of cooking, the meat falls off the bone and practically shreds itself. As an added benefit, your home will be filled with wonderful Sunday cooking smells.
After the Sunday night meal, you’re almost sure to have left overs. The shredded pork and sauce can then easily become a great pulled pork sandwich (just add some BBQ sauce) or some pulled pork taco. The Sunday meal that keeps on giving.
OK, so this dish is not officially named “Butterfly Chicken” but that’s what Arthur and I call it because that is the verb for when you cut out the chicken’s backbone, break the breastbone, and lay it flat, “to butterfly a chicken” – it looks sort of like a butterfly. I think the official name is “Balsamico Roast Chicken” (it comes from The Italian Country Table, by Lynne Rossetto Kasper).
I have been talking about purchasing a dining table since at least August and with my 30th birthday fast approaching, I decided to finally go for it – let’s face it, who wants to be 30 and admit that they eat all of their meals on the sofa? (Although, now that we have the table, Arthur still seems to prefer the sofa…)
To break in the new table we decided to call upon our good friend Debbie, some excellent board games, and this classic recipe – who doesn’t love a whole chicken with potatoes roasted in the bottom of the pan? We started out the evening with a bottle of white wine while Debbie prepped a delicious salad (arugula, walnuts, cranberries, goat cheese, prosciutto, with balsamic fig dressing) and I got the chicken going. Dinner guests always seem impressed by a whole roasted bird (even though it’s not much work!) and this recipe smells great cooking, cooks more quickly because of the butterfly technique and has never come out dry because of all of the delicious extra fat from the pancetta. If anything, Arthur, if asked, will warn you not to get over-zealous with the pancetta. We tried bumping up the pancetta amount one time (’cause we love it so much) and it just turned out waaaay too greasy – and you know it was reeeeeally greasy if we’re saying that…
from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
¼ medium onion 4 slices (1 ½ to 2 ounces) pancetta, chopped
3 large garlic cloves 5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ tightly packed cup fresh basil leaves 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon each dried oregano and marjoram ½ to 1 cup dry white wine
1 3 ½- to 4-pound chicken Parsley or fresh thyme for garnish
6 medium Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold, or
red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut
into 2-inch chunks
- If time allows, season the chicken ahead and refrigerate it several hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F when ready to cook the chicken. Mince together, by hand or in a food processor, the onion, garlic, herbs (dried ones could be in here too), and pancetta. Then blend in 2 teaspoons of the balsamico, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut out the chicken’s backbone and open the chicken out flat, skin side up. With your palm, firmly press down the breast area to flatten. Stuff most of the herb mixture under the skin of the thigh, leg and breast areas. Rub the rest all over the chicken. Place the bird skin side up on a large shallow pan (a broiler pan or jelly-roll or half0sheet pan). Scatter the potatoes around it and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.
- Roast 20 minutes, then pour in ½ cup wine. Roast another 70 minutes, or until the thigh reaches about 175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer. Baste the potatoes and chicken frequently with the pan juices, turning the potatoes often to brown evenly and prevent them from sticking. Add more wine if the pan is dry. Turn over the chicken two thirds of the way through cooking for even browning. If after an hour of roasting, the chicken isn’t browning, raise the heat to 500˚ F to finishing cooking. (Or wait until it is done and run it under the broiler 5 minutes to crisp the skin.)
- Let the chicken rest 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature, then present on a warmed platter along with the potatoes, sprinkling everything with the rest of the balsamic. Garnish with bouquets of parsley or fresh thyme.
Once you have started pre-heating the oven to 400, I recommend starting by rinsing and chopping the red potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes (the recipe says 2 inches, but if you want to make sure they’re fully cooked and get nice and crispy on the outside, 1 inch is best in my experience). Toss your potato cubes in a large bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil, marjoram, and oregano. Then use olive oil to grease the bottom of your roasting pan and throw those spuds in there. Next, prepare the “stuffing” according to the recipe- it’s not technically stuffing, because it’s going to go under and over the skin, not actually inside the bird, but that’s what I call it.
When your pan and your stuffing are ready, grab your whole “roaster” chicken and a sharp knife… and cut out the back bone! Yep, cut the whole. thing. out. If you are squeemish, you can have the butcher do it for you at the grocery store, but it’s really not that hard. (Plus, think how proud of yourself you’ll be if you do it yourself! It’s a task that always makes me feel like a real chef). Just set that c
hicken up so it’s sitting on the counter facing away from you and make 2 cuts, one down each side of the backbone from neck to tail. Then, throw out the backbone (unless you want to save it for making stock). Lay the chicken down flat on the counter, breasts up, and press your thumbs down on the breastbone until you hear a snap – now the chicken will lie flat in a “butterfly” position. It cooks quicker this way and still looks really cool.
Putting the stuff under the skin is fun, but be sure not to get carried away: you’ll want to save some to pat onto the outside of the skin (Arthur likes to be sure to pat it on, trying to rub it in does not seem to be as effective). Finally, put your chicken in the roasting pan (on the rack, above the potatoes). Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then pour 1/2 coup of white wine over the chicken and potatoes. After, roast for another 70 minutes (or however long it takes for the chicken to finish roasting), basting every 20 minutes, or so.
Check to see that the chicken is fully cooked by slicing the thickest part of the thigh or breast with a knife and making sure the juices are running clear. Then lift the chicken on its rack off of the pan, and let it “sit” for another 20 minutes or so while you jack the oven up to 50o degrees and finish giving those potatoes a nice crisp finish. (This dish tastes great with green beans, too. Just add them to the bottom of the pan with the potatoes for the last 40 minutes to an hour of cooking time).
My new table is now officially broken in.
Easy! Delicious! Impressive!
(If you’re lucky enough to have Debbie joining you for dinner, she might just bring some homemade chocolate madelines with ice cream to finish off the meal…)
Friends, if you have ever listened to anything I said, listen closely to these words: go buy Good Meat. Do it right now, and buy me an appropriately priced gift of thanks at a later date. I bought this book for my brother and his wife for Christmas, and was pretty excited about giving it to them. Then I saw his facebook status later that week and it was something to the effect of “Spent my entire day drinking tea and reading my new cookbook”. Now, I’m a fan of cookbooks, but I have never been so grossly enthralled in one so as to give up a whole day in my weekend in order to read through it. But that is partly because this is not just a bunch of recipes sent to a bindery. It’s a holy tome of carnivorous cuisine! Each section (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, rabbit, etc.) contains a sub-section about the meat itself. You’ll find information such as discussions of the difference between grass and corn fed beef, sustainable models of protein farming, breaking down a side of beef into primal, sub-primal and butcher cuts, and suggested vendors you can order from. It’s truly, truly amazing stuff.
The following recipe is the best one I’ve had from the book so far, but that isn’t saying much since we only tried 3 recipes while down in Kansas (where my brother Allen, recipient of the book, lives) and I haven’t yet bought my own copy of Good Meat. I will say up-front, I am not a mustard guy. Especially the bolder, spicier mustards; I hate them in the same way I hate horseradish. This recipe opened my eyes. You will need
- 2 1/2 lb new potatoes, cut into 2 inch chunks (any small potatoes will work)
- 1 chicken, 5 lb
- 1 head garlic, seperated into cloves and skinned
- 1 bunch/package rosemary
- 1 cup coarse/stone ground mustard
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (pretty sure we left this part out, and it was still friggin awesome)
Heat the oven to 450. Choose a roasting pan that will hold the potatoes tightly together. The idea is to keep them from burning here. Remove excess fat from the chicken and place chunks among potatoes.
Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems, and rough chop them. Take 1/4 cup of the rosemary and set it aside. Now take half of the remaining rosemary and sprinkle it inside the bird cavity, along with some salt and pepper. The rest of the rosemary should be scattered among the tatoes in the pan.
In a bowl or blender, mix together the 1/4 cup of rosemary you reserved, the mustard, olive oil and soy sauce until its a homogenous paste. Spread that over the bird. It’s supposed to be a nice, thick crust so don’t be shy with the mustard paste. GET IT ON THERE! Place the bird on top of the potatoes, and put the roasting pan in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350. You need that initial high temperature period to really set the crust and get some browning action on the outside. Let it go at 350 degrees for another 60-75 minutes until a thermometer reads 165 in the thickest part of the thigh. When its done, let it rest 15 minutes before carving the bird.
Last step: drain the juices from the roasting pan and add to a saute pan along with the wine, place over medium heat. Allow that to reduce to about 1/2 volume. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream (again, we left that part out) then you can either serve in a gravy boat or just pour it over the potatoes as a dressing.