Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's For Dinner: Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Gratin

Today my hands are fragrant with lemon, rosemary and garlic.

Summer Vegetable Gratin

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

I was giving Dad's new ovens a workout. I made the chicken in the Convection oven and the Gratin using the convection setting in the Microwave/Convection Oven.
I spent most of the day in the kitchen but everyone agreed that the results were well worth it.

The Summer Vegetable Gratin is a recipe out of Cook's Illustrated Magazine (the people who do the America's Test Kitchen TV show.) It has a lot of steps and a lot of prep but it is really something special when you eat it. (As of now this link leads to a video showing how to make the Gratin - no telling how long they will let the link stay active)

The Lemon and Rosemary Chicken is an adaptation of a recipe from my Pampered Chef days. I think I have really improved upon it! I used an upright chicken roaster that has a well for liquids which we use for making Beer Can Chicken on the grill. The roaster is ideal for a Convection oven because it stands up the chicken allowing the air to circulate over all surfaces of the chicken and it has a well you can fill (with lemon juice in this case) which will steam the chicken form the inside, keeping it moist and juicy. It also has a kind of bowl at the bottom of it which catches all the juices as the chicken roasts so it doesn't drip down into the oven. Click Here for Weber Poultry Roaster & photo.... I used the thermometer probe that hooks into the oven, but at home I use a prober thermometer which has a long wire that runs out of the oven to a little timer/controler that beeps to alert me when the meat has reached its target temperature. It's great becuase you don't have to keep peeking at the chicken or taking it out of the oven to take its temperature.

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

1 broiler/roaster whole chicken (3 - 5 pounds)
2 Tbs. Salt
3 Garlic Cloves, pressed or minced
3 Tbs. Rosemary, minced (I used fresh from the garden)
2 Lemons
Olive Oil

Zest 2 lemons, reserve lemons. To make the rub, combine lemon zest, salt, garlic, and rosemary in a small mixing bowl. If using upright chicken roaster with a well, juice the lemon and put lemon juice in the well.
Remove "extras" from chicken cavity and discard. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Use scissors to trim away any excessive flaps of skin.

Rub some of the salt rub inside the cavity of the chicken and place it on the roaster. Slip one or two fingers between the skin and the breast of the chicken wiggle and sweep your finger to loosen the skin so that you can get some of the salt rub under the skin. Repeat for the left and right side of the breast and also on the back of the chicken. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub it in. Next rub the salt rub all over the outside of the chicken. If using the upright chicken roaster with a well, place the "cap" on top of the bird to prevent steam escaping from the hole at the top of the bird.

Preheat oven to 350 and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thigh of the chicken (without hitting the bone) registers 170-180 degrees F. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before removing from the roaster and carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat of the bird. If you carve without allowing this rest period the juices will run out all over your cutting board resulting in drier, less flavorful chicken.

Enjoy! - And let me know what you think when you try it.


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