Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Roast Chicken of 2010

This December 31st, The Mighty Bay Leaf and Wife Of Mighty Bay Leaf are foregoing the festivities, ball-drops and what-have-you, and kicking it at home with the dog and a Yankee Magazine recipe magazine, Christmas courtesy of Sister Of Mighty Bay Leaf.

Behold modified recipes! Rather than give you an ingredient list, I'll just all-caps what you need:

Our main course was a roast CHICKEN, a dish that became a favorite of ours in 2010. At the behest of the good folks at Yankee, we plopped the BIRD straight onto our VEGETABLES, rather than on a rack, though we swapped out turnips and beets, both anathema to yours truly, for multi-colored CARROTS and a giant PARSNIP that looked more like a mandrake root out of the film adaptation of The Chamber of SECRETS. Don't even pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

So you roughly chop some CELERY, and the aforementioned vegetables, and place them in the roasting pan with some ORANGE wedges and ROSEMARY stalks, as well as a dab of VEGETABLE STOCK. Don't forget to SALT and PEPPER that action too!

Meanwhile, you're going to stuff your 4 lb chicken with orange slices and rosemary stalks. "There's rosemary coming out of that chicken's butt!" If you complete this step properly, your own significant other will exclaim this just as you're about to carve it. Oh, and as a side note--if you have access to a local, free-range chicken, The Mighty Bay Leaf highly recommends it.

Rub your chicken down with some OLIVE OIL, and salt and pepper liberally. If you're more into genetically enhanced, factory-farm produced chicken-animals, you may season it conservatively. Just a little political humor for you. Ahem.

Now, the timing for a 4 lb roast chicken is 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then 40 minutes at 350. The Mighty Bay Leaf is not above admitting to you that he cooked his bird upside down, which, don't do. If you like crispy skin, this might not be the proper timing/temperature for you. But I will say that the meat will be perfectly cooked and very, very juicy. So there.

Remove your chicken to the cutting board or wherever you like to cut 'er up. Remove the orange and rosemary from the roasting pan, and strain the stock into a small, hot saucepan. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of BUTTER and a spoonful of FLOUR, which of course becomes HEAVEN, I mean GRAVY. Provided you peeled your vegetables before you roasted them, serve them as a side!

For a second side, we modified another Yankee recipe, and made Curried Butternut Squash. This can be similarly accomplished by peeling and cubing a BUTTERNUT SQUASH, and finely chopping a small SPANISH ONION. You cook these in some VEGETABLE OIL until the onion is translucent (contemporary cookbooks love the shit out of the word "translucent"), and the squash is a little soft. Then you add a BAY LEAF (KAPOW!), CURRY POWDER (we had a little Madras curry powder that we swiped from my moms), CUMIN, and powdered GINGER. Stir it around 'til you're happy with it, then add some VEGETABLE STOCK, but not too much, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer for a while. Then discard the bay leaf, add some RAISINS and toasted WALNUTS (I forget what kind of nut Yankee recommended, but I just went with walnuts instead 'cause we had 'em). Yankee Magazine also said to add cooked rice to this, which, no. Don't do that. But when you're finished, feel free to serve with a sprinkling of SCALLIONS.

When you're finished, you'll be that much closer to the New Year, which in your case will probably mean 2012!

Behold the finished plate, and a begging dog!

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