Wednesday 12 March 2014

Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Roasted Garlic Coulis

Crazy blizzard means a hot meal, or at least that's how I decide when to cook a roast! While at the moment, it's lamb that's on the menu for supper, no photos have been taken, no recipes have been written and I have no idea what it will taste like, it's experimental. So for lamb, looks like you'll just have to wait! Now now, I'm not going to leave you with a lamb shaped void in your soul, I'll just have to placate you with a recipe for the lovely roast chicken I made during our last snow storm! Ok, ok I know, chicken ain't no lamb. Even more than that, I know that a lot of people aren't too keen on roast chicken, I can assure you that I wasn't for the longest time! I used to think of roast chicken as bland, mostly dry and cardboard-like, served with a greasy, tasteless gravy, next to some less than appetizing potatoes, hardly something that evoked anything nearing culinary fantasy and certainly not something that got the saliva flowing. What changed? I had the chance of partaking in a few chicken dinners where lo' and behold, I realized that chicken didn't have to be dry, even moreso, they could taste...good or even...great!

So golly gee, my perceptions changed. Naturally, because I couldn't rely on other people as my only source of tasty chicken, I then spent a while pondering what to do with chicken to make it not ok, not good but even...dare I say it? Great! I hmmmm'd, I hawwww'd, flipped through some recipes and finding nothing satisfactory,decided to hatch up my own (see what I did there? Hatch? Hahahaha-...ok, ok that was bad, I'm tired ok?). Enter my Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Roasted Garlic Coulis, a kind of composite chicken recipe inspired by a multitude of different approaches to cooking our feathery friends (Mind you, I feel that this friendship might be a tad one-sided hmmm?). First up, I figured out a roast chicken recipe but I had a problem, I couldn't just give you a nice tasty chicken with some plain watery/greasy gravy, that's too...well...boring. Also, we had all that lovely lemony rosemary flavour, but what to do with it? The solution came out of the fact that I've been immersed in studying (and studying, and studying) French cooking for my MA and as we all know, the French do love their sauces, so eureka! Roast Garlic+Gravy= Garlic coulis. Anyway, fast forward to actual mealtime where I was almost trembling with anticipation (was it actually gonna be good!? How would people like it?) and the moment of truth came, as testified to by its picked clean carcass, the meal was a success!

In sum, this recipe is dedicated to those who have fed me good chicken (and made me see the light), to those who aren't afraid to experiment, to the chicken we ate (bless its little soul), and of those who even now are looking at this recipe and saying "good chicken eh? No such thing!"...well you know what naysayers? Try me.

Ps. Did I mention that this recipe is a fast and simple? Well it is, there, I said it. Now whatcha waiting for!?

 Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Roasted Garlic Coulis 
 Served on a bed of delicious veg!

Preheat Oven to 450 Fahrenheit

For the bed of veggies:

-1 Bulb of Garlic (Yes, the whole thing and don't worry about peeling it)
-4 small courgettes (zucchini, whatever you want to call it)
-4 small yellow onions (or two big ones)
-3-4 carrots
-whatever miscellaneous veggies you might like(I added radishes for one)

 For the chicken's cavity, you and Mr. Chicken are about to get really intimate, as my new roomie Tyson discovered rather quickly (Hey, someone had to take the photos, also Ty has nice hands as you'll see later):
-1-2 lemons (depending on size)
-2 sprigs rosemary
-2 sprigs oregano

For dusting:
-~2 tsp. paprika
-~1tsp Goya adobo seasoning (found in most South American grocery stores/"ethnic" sections of supermarkets)
-Salt/Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cleave the bulb of garlic in half horizontally and chop the veggies into bite-sized chunks roughly the same size, strew them in a roasting pan/large dish.

Douse liberally with olive oil (certainly the garlic!)

Grind up pepper and salt, mix  with adobo and paprika. Don't have adobo? Up the salt and throw on some garlic powder, a bit of thyme, maybe some oregano, that'll be good too!

Carefully wash lemons (with soap) and cut in half, puncture the lemon a few times in the side to let the juice out

Pick and clean your fresh herbs (or you know...take them out of their package)

Dump the chicken onto the veg and drizzle some olive oil on top, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it and dust liberally with your spice/salt/pepper mix

Get intimate with Mr. Chicken (ie stuff the cavity with lemons and herbs, still have space? Throw in some of your onion too)

Kindly introduce Mr. Chicken to your oven

Rescue Mr. Chicken from the oven and take his temperature (if you have a meat thermometer), otherwise an hour to an hour and a half of roasting should do the trick!

Sauce time! Sorry didn't take any photos of the process. Remove the garlic and onions from the bed of veg, cover the chicken temporarily with the lid for a large pot, of if you have one of those butler bells (swanky!) use that.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from the peel, by now it should be approaching caramel brown and should slide right out of the peel. Pour the chicken drippings into a measuring cup and siphon off whatever fat you wish to remove.

Blend the roasted garlic and drippings in a blender, add onions until it reaches your desired consistency (thick, rich, creamy is the aim), taste and season accordingly.

Plate your chicken with a trickle of sauce on it, some veg and preferable some pickled beets and bread "stuffing" (quotation marks because it never made it inside the chicken) and voila! Dinner is served.

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