Sunday, March 21, 2010

Balthazar Roasted Chicken and Pan Roasted Root Vegetables

I know I have already written about my version of baked chicken but the other night we decided to try the recipe from the Balthazar cook book. If you have never been to Balthazar in NYC, I would suggest going the next time you are in New York. This restaurant is always packed, no matter the time of day, and is always good. They definitely have their menu down to a science. They serve typical French cuisine but the quality is top notch. It is "the" restaurant you go to in New York to be seen and do some great people watching. The tables are so close together that you usually end up either hearing their entire conversation or joining in. We have made many of the recipes from their cook book but have never done their roast chicken. When it came out of the oven perfectly golden brown skin and smells of garlic, we knew it had to be good, but didn't know it would be "that" good! The meat was perfectly moist with this undertone of garlic that had permeated the meat, and the skin was so crisp and juicy you could make a meal of that alone. OK, now my mouth is watering, let me get down to giving you the secret recipe:
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
8 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 whole roasting chicken, rinsed and dried
1 head of garlic, split horizontally
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine half the rosemary, thyme, and parsley with the softened butter, using a fork to blend the herbs and butter. Season with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Going through the neck opening, slide half the herbed butter under the skin of both breasts. Rub the remainder of the butter all over the outside of the chicken. Stuff the chicken cavity with the remaining herbs and the garlic. Season the outside of the chicken all over with remainder salt and pepper.
Over a high flame, heat the olive oil in a heavy ovenproof pan (cast iron skillet). Place the chicken on its sides, searing the leg and breast. Leave it in the pan for about 4 minutes, turning only when the bird is browned. Turn and repeat on the other side, and then the top, and bottom so that its browned on all sides. Spoon out some of the excess fat, and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 50 minutes, basting occasionally. The bird is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, or when the juices run clear from the joint between the leg and thigh. If the skin begins to burn cover with aluminum foil.

Pan Roasted Root vegetables:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed, skins removed
1 celery root, peeled and diced small
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
2 parsnips, peeled and diced small
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the crushed garlic cloves and saute for 2 minutes, until the cloves just start to take on color. Add the diced vegetables and thyme and cook over high heat, stirring frequently with a spatula, for 5 minutes. Lower the flame and continue to cook, still stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes. Add a splash of water midway through the cooking time to provide some steam. Just before the end of the cooking time, add the butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. The vegetables should be tender.

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