Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Best Friend in the Kitchen this Week

I am so exhausted. This week has been incredibly hectic at work and we’re only half way through. In case you don’t know, I manage a service laboratory at an academic institution. That means we are contracted by investigators to help with their projects. Normally I love my job. Except, of course, when I’m working for crazy-ass investigators who watch too much Star Trek and can’t tell the difference between science and science fiction.

But I’m sure you don’t want to hear me rant about work, do you?? This is a food blog and I do have a gastronomic point to make.

For a working parent and the family cook, the pressure is always on to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time. That’s why I like foods that can be stretched over a couple of meals. Do the real cooking once and whip up something quick with the leftovers the next time. What fits that bill better than oven-roasted chicken?

Everyone has a favorite way to roast a chicken. I like to use my Dutch oven. I get the pot very hot on the stove then throw in the chicken. After the bottom sears, I transfer the pot to the oven and roast uncovered for about 1 hour at 375º. The chicken skin gets browned while the meat stays moist and juicy.

This time, I decided to brine the chicken because I wanted to try this recipe before using it on my Thanksgiving turkey. I changed it a bit but it turned out great and I think I'll use it for our turkey.

Pineapple Chicken Brine (suitable for 4 to 5 pound chicken)
  • 1 ½ quarts unsweetened pineapple juice (sold as 1 quart 14 oz)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tbs kosher salt
  • 1-2 stick cinnamon
  • 2 star anise (optional)
You can make the brine in a microwave or on the stove top. Heat all the ingredients, except the cinnamon and star anise, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Take off heat and add the cinnamon and star anise. Cool completely before pouring onto the chicken. If the brine doesn’t completely cover the chicken, turn the bird so that the breast side is down and completely submerged. Before roasting, take the chicken out of the brine and pat it dry.

I was able to get three meals plus a rich stock out of a 5-pound chicken. Day 1 we had roast chicken. Day 2 we had chicken and mushroom sauté with creamy polenta. Day 3 we had a delicious Asian chicken noodle soup with bok choy.

So tell me, what’s your favorite way to roast a chicken? And what do you like to do with the leftovers?

1 comment:

Manggy said...

Turbo broiler!!! And, eat them as is. Though I suppose the best way would really be to shred them up and have a gravy sandwich.