Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roast Chicken with Blood Oranges and pan-reduction

I'm so happy that I have, at least in my kitchen, perfected the art of a perfectly roasted chicken.  To me, a perfectly roasted chicken is crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.  In my convection oven, it means staging the temperature throughout the cooking time.
I divide the temperature in equal increments, depending on the weight of the bird.  For this bird, which weighed a bit over 4 pounds, I did the following:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Take the bird out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up slightly.
Place the prepared bird in oven, roast at 500 (on convect) for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature, still convection-mode, to 350.  Roast another 20 minutes.
Turn off convection and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300-325, roast another 20 minutes.
Turn oven off, leave bird in for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Allow bird to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.  Remove a portion of pan drippings and add to pan for reduction.

If you go by the 20 minutes per pound rule, this works better than any other method I have tried.  Much longer at the high temp and the bird gets over-cooked on the outside, but inadequately cooked in the interior.  This method seems to solve all these issues.  Try it and see if you find you get a better bird.  If no convection, simply add a bit longer at the higher temp, then leave the majority of the cooking time @ 350.  Watch the bird but resist the temptation to puncture the skin for internal temperature until you get close to the end.  If still unsure, an internal temp of at least 165 degrees F is done, and another way to know is to slice between the leg and thigh.  The juice should run clear if cooked through.
the beautiful color of a blood orange.
The tart flavor of these is a perfect accompaniment to chicken.

The chicken is prepped in the following way:  
Remove giblets, rinse exterior and cavity with water & pat dry with paper towel.
Rub exterior of bird with oil.  I prefer grapeseed oil because it has a high flashpoint.
Season with herbs, if desired.
I thinly sliced several cross-sections of the blood orange, along with several thinly sliced sections of garlic clove, and slipped them between the skin and breast of the bird (see above).
I placed 2-3 whole garlic cloves, and half onion cut into large chunks, inside the cavity to add flavor during roasting.
I roasted the chicken in an enamel-coated cast iron roasting pan.  Any deep-sided pan will do.

I love this product!  A bit pricier than other brands, but worth it if you don't have your own stock.
I added this to a cup of water, 1/4 cup white wine (optional), and about 1/4-1/2 cup pan drippings.
Place in skillet or saucepan on medium-high, and cook until the ingredients reduce in volume and become slightly thickened.
I added zest from the blood orange, and about 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed juice.

The pan reduction goes from this (above) to this (below).  Do not add salt.  

Slices of roast chicken (above) served with fall vegetable medley of golden beets, eggplant, and onion.

The next day you can make yummy chicken salad with the leftover meat:
chicken meat, chopped or shredded
sliced almonds

In bowl, combine chicken with enough mayo to coat.  Add craisins, sliced almonds, and season with salt & pepper.  I like to use a "Creole" seasoning.  Toss.  Serve as a sandwich, or over a bed of lettuce.

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