Posts Tagged ‘roasted chicken’

Maple Mischief

February 18, 2013

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Much to Matthew’s chagrin, I’m a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to food-borne illness.

Before you conjure up any horrifying visuals, let me set the record straight. No, I do not lick raw chicken. However, I have been known to taste-test things like eggs and (gasp) burgers before cooking, to test for seasoning. Wise? Hardly. Foolhardy? I suppose. I guess I’ll continue this game of culinary Russian Roulette until I wind up in the E.R.

That being said, my latest devil-may-care mischief involved some maple syrup I purchased at TJ Maxx.

Two years ago.

That I opened one year ago.

And never refrigerated.

I sense that you have questions and concerns, so I’ll do a little roleplay and try to answer them here.

“Josh — of all places, why would you buy maple syrup at TJ Maxx?”

I must admit that, for most people, this IS a valid question. I myself was once terrified at the prospect of purchasing what I called “TJ Snaxx.” Then I found some Nielsen-Massey Vanilla there for half price. Then I found some artisan salts. Next some herbs de provence. I used them and didn’t grow a tail or a horn. So, I gradually got cozy with the idea of what my friend Greg refers to as “distressed merchandise.”

“Why are you using two-year-old maple syrup?”

This is a two-part answer. 1. David grew up during the Great Depression, so we don’t waste ANYTHING in this house, and 2. Maple syrup is best when aged.*

“Why did you never refrigerate the syrup like the label clearly requested?”

Because I can’t read.

“Why did you continue with your food preparation, knowing that your syrup was possibly contaminated by potential pancreas-poisoning toxins?

Ironically, it was a decision based on logistics. Restarting would require two trips — one to TJ Maxx for more maple syrup, and one to the grocery for more sweet potatoes. I measured the potential risk of three days in the hospital versus the definite sacrifice of 25 minutes and $7 for potatoes and distressed maple syrup, and made the logical choice to gamble on the past of less immediate resistance.

So, how did it turn out? Well, it’s twelve hours later, and I’m drinking my morning coffee and writing this blog post. So…so far so good. Wait…I’m sensing another question…something I might have forgotten to mention due to my long-winded dissertation on discount maple syrup…

“This is a food blog, dummy. What did you cook???”

Ah yes. I suppose that would be pertinent. And so we begin. 😉

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Roasted Chicken with Chipotle-Maple Sweet Potatoes
Don’t choke — I actually followed a recipe for once! I snagged this one from the Jan/Feb issue of Taste of the South magazine. I was intrigued by the maple-chipotle combo, and the ease of cooking it all in the cast iron skillet. I was not disappointed — it was very tasty. Recipe adapted below.

1 TBSP + 2 tsp olive oil
4 small chicken breasts (or thighs) … see NOTE
1 tsp salt + half tsp pepper
½ tsp ground coriander (or cumin, I used both)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
¼ maple syrup
1 TBSP minced chipotle pepper … see NOTE
2 lemon wedges.

I like to get all my chopping done before heat comes into play, so I began by taking care of my potatoes, onion, and chipotle. While we’re on the subject of chipotles, if you have no idea where to acquire them, read this. Put onions and potatoes in a medium bowl.

Next, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Season your chicken with salt, pepper, and coriander/cumin. Heat a TBSP of oil over medium heat in a 12-inch cast iron (or any oven-proof) skillet and brown chicken for 3-5 minutes, then flip and remove pan from heat.

While that’s settling, add remaining oil, minced chipotle, and maple syrup to sweet potatoes, tossing to coat. Pour veggies around the chicken, and bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.

NOTE: I used tiny chicken breasts, and their packaging indicated a 20- minute cook time due to their size. To solve this issue, I removed the chicken from the cast iron, added the potato mixture, and baked for 20 minutes. Then I added the chicken and cooked for another 20. Perfectly done!

And that, darlings, is pretty much it. Finish with a nice spritz of lemon, and you have a rather tasty, somewhat death-defying, meal.

So what’s the lesson here today? Don’t discriminate against distressed merchandise, but do try your best to avoid distressing it any further before you use it. Happy mischief making! 😉

*This is not a statement of fact. It is pure snarky sarcasm. Kitchen Mischief does not recommend the use of potentially hazardous food items and cannot be held responsible for medical co-pays incurred after consuming such items.

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The Gruesome Gourmet

April 6, 2012

Photos by Ray Hydrick. Carnage by Matthew Warren.

Josh and I will be the first to admit that we do not like working with a chicken carcass. I can handle pieces of chicken all day long, but washing out a chicken cavity sends me into a gagging spell. So dear readers, I have taken a deep breath and decided to hold back the dry heaves to make this dish.

I have watched several shows where they cut the backbone out of the chicken so that it will lay flat on the grill. How does this horrific chicken autopsy help the chicken? Well, have you ever had that problem where the chicken breast is done but the dark meat is still in the “danger zone” of rawness? Flattening the chicken helps both the white and dark meat to cook at the same time. Perfectly cooked and perfectly juicy.

To prepare for this Dexter type of chicken dismemberment, one must be prepared…this is what how I got ready.

Cutting board – use a non-porous cutting board, such as hard plastic. Easier to clean and to remove bacteria.

Kitchen shears – these are heavy-duty shears. The shears used for scrapebooking will not work – trust me. Seriously, these could take off a finger of a cheating lover (evil grin).

Was I kidding?

Rubber gloves – yep, rubber gloves. You can buy latex and powder-free at a drug store. Keeps hand disinfecting to a minimum.

Prepping for surgery

Let’s get this grossness going (deep breath).

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary
1 chicken, whole (I got mine without giblets)
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons minced, fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
Olive oil

After donning your rubber gloves, rinse the chicken inside and out. Then place the unsuspecting chicken on the cutting board, backbone side up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel.

Using the implement of terror, I mean your kitchen shears, snip off any excess fat around neck or cavity opening. Speaking of cavity (gag) – be sure to check and make sure your chicken doesn’t have a giblet goodie bag or neck. If so, remove it. Using your fingers, find where the spine stops at cavity. Starting on one side of the spine, use some force and cut through the ribs and such.

I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV

Do the same on the other side. When done you will have removed the chicken backbone.

This is seriously a scene from one of the Predator movies

At this point (wiping sweat from my brow), open the cavity to expose the breast bone. Using your knife, carefully cut through the cartilage so when spread the chicken will lay flat.

Total chicken carnage

Sitting there, all spineless

Combine your lemon, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper with a little olive oil in a dish. Using your fingers, push half the mixture under the skin of the chicken. Use the other half of the mixture to rub on the other side (what was the chicken cavity). Brush the chicken skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I get the chills just looking at this

Preheat your grill – if using gas, one side of the grill should be on high and the other side on low. If using charcoal, make the fire on one side and when coals are ready spread some the to the cool side. Place the chicken, skin-side up, on the cool-side of the grill. Use a cast iron skillet (covered in foil for easy clean up) or heat proof dish to weigh it down. Roast 15-20 minutes on each side.

If you haven't shown that chicken enough harm, place a large weight on it.

Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

The chicken turned out really well, Juicy and best of all, cooked all the way through. Cooking is not always pretty but it sure tastes good. 😉