the suffragette iron chef

I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking unnecessarily large meals on Sundays so that the leftovers carry through the week. It saves me money, time, calories, hell it just flat out saves me as weeks get unintentionally crazy.

One Sunday a few months back, I went through one of my cookbooks and “flagged” (with pink heart-shaped post-its) the recipes I wanted to try. Manfriend comes over and kindly says, “that book has a heart on every single page!” WELL. It wasn’t just any cookbook. It was Food Network Favorites. The best recipes from the TV chefs that I’ve come to love–LOVE–and have inspired many of my daring culinary endeavors. One of which ended with frosting on the ceiling, but I digress.

So, this Sunday Manfriend and I batted around ideas for Sunday supper. Pizza? No. Lasagna? Maybe. Roasted Chicken? Sold. And I had just the recipe in mind.

Now, I want you all to bear in mind that this little chicky was prepped and prepared on an October Sunday Afternoon. Manfriend was happily enjoying a buffet of pigskins and testosterone when I decided to play Iron Chef. A great idea until it requires simultaneous manipulation of the bird and photographic documentation. There was an excessive amount of hand washing, an expletive of two, and a ton of confused squawking (from me, not the bird). Just…bear that all in mind. I hope you giggle as much as I did when I reviewed the shots today.

The Ultimate Roast Chicken
from Tyler Florence

Ingredients

  • 1 5.5 lb free range chicken (mine was neither. 4.75 lbs and Perdue)
  • 1/2 bunch each: fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, softened (1/2 c.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and halved, plus 1 whole onion
  • 6 strips smoked bacon
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. dry sherry

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 425. Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out
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like I said, not the large, organic, upstanding bird Mr. Florence called for.

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before you rinse, remove these bad boys.

i promise the pictures get more appetizing. Seriously rinse though--who knows what that liquid in the package is.

I promise the pictures get more appetizing. Seriously rinse though--who knows what that liquid in the bag REALLY is.

  • Pat it dry with paper towels (Helps the yummy stuff stick to the skin). Divide the herbs, keeping half of them whole. Finely chop the other half. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the chopped herbs until combined.
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I considered using a food processor to chop to make life a little easier. Then I remembered I was Catholic.

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chopped! turns out butter doesn't photograph well when faced directly. It's elusive like the Loch Ness.

  • Rub the herbed butter under the skin, as well as all over the outside of the chicken. (First loosen the skin before you attempt to stuff under it.) Season the bird with salt and pepper.
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does this picture make you a little uncomfortable? It makes me uncomfortable. This has to be done though. Be gentle and patient--dont' tear the skin, but the connective tissue will give away as its prompted. Also remove your watch.

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Stuff the skin upside-up and upside-down.

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i think i'd like to be slathered in this stuff. note: at this point i've washed my hands 45 times.

  • Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, onion halves, and the remaining herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine (I did not do this. No twine.). Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Put the whole onion into the pan to help color and flavor the sauce (I cut him in half to fit better).
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chances this will all fit in my lil' chicky: slim.

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Half the orange, broke up the garlic cloves, and cut the stalks off the parsley, but it all fit! Don't be afraid to squish it all in, it's all just going to juice and get in the meat anyways.

  • Lay the strips of bacon across the breast of the chicken and roast for 25 minutes.
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this is what you call, "guilding the lily."

  • Remove the bacon, baste the chicken with the drippings, and cook for another 25 minutes to brown the skin. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 180 when inserted into th thickest part of the thigh. The legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets, too.
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MONEY. my little birdy clocked in at 182 after 50 minutes. My oven runs cold, but even so if you have a full 5.5 lb-er, I think you'll need more tiime. But lets get back to it--how great does this look?

  • Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes or so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.
  • Meanwhile, remove the softened onion from the roasting pan. Tilt the pan so the drippings collect in one corner and skim off as much fat as possible, leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over mdium heat and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
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scrape scrape scrape...scrape scrape scrape...scrape your booty? no. wrong. Heat helps this process. I used 2 burners.

  • Stir the flour into the drippings to make a paste.
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flour in a sauce? weird? no. this is the beginnings of that magical, mythical thing called a roux.

  • Pour in the chicken broth in stages; continue to stir to prevent lumps. Stir in the sherry and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (mine needed neither).
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after just a splash of broth--see the pasty? that's gooooood. what are you doing?! don't stop stirring!!

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all broth and sherry added. Your goal in cooking the sauce is to reduce the sherry and concentrate the flavor. This is also where you set the table.

  • To serve, carve the chicken tableside and squeeze the oranges from the cavity over the meat.

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see the right side? that was my hacking attempt at carving. see the perfect slice of breast meat being lifted? that's Manfriend. Its like they're born knowing how to cut meat like we're born knowing how to walk in heels. My suffragette-self is ok with that.

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ah yes forgot to mention these kids. prick them with a fork, spray w/ oil, shake with salt, toss them in the oven and they'll be done when the chicky is. AND. I'm QUITE proud of this picture.

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sha-ZAM. dinner is served.

"I am a lucky man," he says with a content sigh :)

the best compliment there is 🙂

the end.

if you’ve gotten this far, you’re either related to me, or are enough of a foodie you were entertained–so put this on your to-make list already! It’s not a “wednesday night at 7pm what should I make” number, but if you enjoy the process as much as I do, this little ditty is well, well, worth it. The chicken is juicy and packed with flavor. The sauce is rich and robust–the sherry elevates it just enough that I’ll go ahead and call it sophisticated. The whole thing is simply, GOOD.

Manfriend wrapped up the remainders of the white meat (which I just enjoyed again) and picked the dark meat for later use….maybe a quick cassoulet? He also whipped up a fantastic tuna salad which was packed into lunch sandwiches.

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9 responses

  1. This is pretty awesome. I was kind of grossed out by some of the chicken washing/stuffing pictures though – not a good thing to read while eating lunch.

    I also would like to know, where my inherent knowledge of walking in heels went? Maybe I should try cutting meat instead…

  2. Yikes!!! That sounds phenomenal. I know what I’m making for dinnah this weekend.

    I desperately LOVE your blog with all my heart. You have got a book in you, girlie!

  3. ok,…but wait…what happened to the bacon? Did I miss it? I saw “cover the bird w/ bacon”…then “remove the bacon”….then what!? You just can’t discard heavenly pork

    • there was a less-than-stellar picture of me removing said bacon, so it didn’t make the cut. And yes, sadly I did discard it. It HAD just been sitting on top of a raw chicken for 30 minutes. Still a crime, I know. I’ll feature chocolate-covered bacon or something soon for my penance.

  4. Pingback: bacon blues « does that make sense?

  5. I made this last night and it was very very good. Hard to cram all that stuff in the chicky, but it’s worth it. I was daydreaming about how the chicky and the gravy throughout the day today. And tonight Uncle Joe commented on “how well we’ve been eating LATELY.” Ahem. Well, your recipes and inspiration are a hit on the left coast, fer sure.

  6. Pingback: I’m proud to be an American. « does that make sense?

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