Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner January 20, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, random stuff.
Did you ever see a recipe and think “that’s almost perfect”?
Like it just needs to be a little bit . . . not exactly but close?
So yeah. I get several emails a week with various recipes – some of them, honestly, I don’t know who they are or why they send them. I must have signed up for something, sometime. I guess. But others – well, I know exactly why I get them – like the Fine Cooking weekly e-newsletter.
First, let me say that I don’t subscribe to Fine Cooking, and no, I’m not quite sure why not. However, once the Bon Appetit subscription expires . . .
And so it was that one day a couple of months ago, I opened my email and saw a recipe for Burnished Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes & Parsnips.
I definitely like sweet potatoes – and parsnips! – but I’m not such a fan of chicken thighs. I’ll eat them, if it’s unavoidable, but they’ve got to be boneless. If I’m going to eat chicken on the bone, it’s got to be white meat, otherwise, I just . . . can’t.
I know, weird.
So I saw this recipe, and I thought to myself that there was no reason it couldn’t work just as well with a spatchcocked chicken.
A whole chicken.
One with its breasts intact.
I’ll admit – I feel kinda strange talking about “breasts” and “spatchcock.” Like I’m in a middle school boys’ locker room. So from here on out, it’ll be “butterflied,” rather than “spatchcocked.” Thank you.
So you basically know how to do this butterflying thing, right? It’s been all over the Internet for a few years now. I do it in the sink so any chicken slime is fairly confined.
You take a pair of kitchen scissors and CUT up the back of the bird along each side of the spine (the backbone goes in your stock-stash in the freezer, right?), then flip it over onto what’s left of its back and press REALLY REALLY hard on the breastbone until you hear it crack.
So you take the now-flat lying chicken, and the funky-looking marinade (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and mustard) and stash it in the fridge for a few hours.
I suspect, if I wanted to, I could freeze the bird right in the marinade, then defrost and cook. I just may try that next time I buy a whole chicken.
While I had plenty of parsnips in the fridge, and a couple of shallots in the onion-and-garlic basket, what I didn’t have was any more sweet potatoes.
Can you believe we used ALL those sweet potatoes that I bought at Thanksgiving? What was it? 20 pounds? Yeah, I can’t believe it either.
What I did have was a giant butternut squash.
Eh, close enough. They’re both orange. So we cut the parsnips and the butternut squash into (about) 1/2-inch cubes, salt and peppered them, and spread them right on the same pan with the chicken.
I was a little concerned about the lack of lubrication in the veggies, so I tossed them with about a teaspoon of oil. I may or may not do that again – the chicken gave off enough fat to keep everything from sticking.
And speaking of the chicken.
About halfway through the cooking time (which, in total, was just an hour), the recipe directed me to “baste the chicken with the pan juices) – I guess that’s where the “burnished” part comes from, huh? That fat from the pan, brushed back onto the skin, just browned and made for a deep, almost mahogany, color.
All in all, this was a delightful chicken. It was, truly, a roasted chicken, with everything that goes along with it – the crisp skin, the moist meat and melting tenderness, and, of course, the warm, comfort-food vegetables. The full-of-flavor marinade – mustard and balsamic vinegar – was just enough to nudge this otherwise very traditional dish just over into “wow” territory. And the best part (well, maybe not the BEST part, but a pretty good thing, all the same) is that there was just enough left over for a couple of sandwiches for the next day’s lunch. What more could you ask for?
Printable version RIGHT HERE.