Friday, March 2, 2012

Butterlied Roast Chicken with preserved lemons

All my chickens come from Old Ackley Farm.  I buy 10 a week from Bob
all summer long, hold three for me and use the rest in the cafe.  Each October
my freezer is full of enough of these scrumptious local, organic chickens
to get me thru until the end of June when he begins to produce again.
I also buy a pig in November, a few ducks, ground beef and a few steaks
here and there for Renee.

  Ground lamb from Horsepower Farm, eggs and other cuts of beef from
Quill's End Farm all winter and I don't need to buy anything but produce in the grocery store.
I'm even learning how to have a little lean-to greenhouse thing on the south side
of Lily's to grow some cool weather greens next winter to get me thru.

This is all very inspiring to me.  I began shopping at a local farmer's market in the late 80's
when I had my cafe in Cincinnati, long before it was anywhere near cool.
In fact, people thought I was crazy, but I loved it then and my passion has
only grown along with the nation's.  Local is not just a buzz word for me.
It is a way of life.  I know where my meat comes from, can even meet my pig.
How awesome is that?

Anyway, back to the chickens.  I roast at least one a week (along with other
ways of doing things which I will show you at a later date).  In fact,
when I travel for longer periods of time than my usual 3 day limit, I CRAVE
this chicken. 

 Hands down, the best way to roast a chicken is butterflied.
I talk about this at great length in my cookbook "Cooking in the Moment"
(which by the way is on sale for $12.00 at Lily's and thru the mail)

In a brief synopsis, you use kitchen shears to cut out the back of the chicken, flip it over, splay 
out the legs and press on the breast bone to flatten it out.

Once this is done, I usually salt the inside cavity and lay the chickens over some kinds of
aromatics and flavor enhancers.  Yesterday I sliced onions thinly, crushed a few
garlic cloves and remembered the preserved lemons I had made that were in the 
far reaches of the refrigerator. 

 For each chicken I sliced one small onion and laid them out
on the tray in a circle the approx width of the flattened chicken.  I then put a garlic clove in the middle of
the onions, sliced up a few wilted scallions I found in the vegetable drawer and then draped
4 slices of preserved lemons over the whole shabang.  I layered the chickens over the
flavors, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt, black pepper and
dried rosemary and put them in a 375 degree convection oven.  Butterflying will
reduce the cooking time, so I set the timer for (3) 20 minute intervals, basting and turning
the tray at the end of each.  I start checking the temp after an hour.  165 is the goal, but
honestly, when I'm cooking for myself, I like my chicken a little over-done, so usually go to 175 -180
shhhh, don't tell my chef peers! 

Delicious!!  The onions were like candy, wait until you try this with
early summer leeks,  you will eat the leeks and forget about the chicken!

I include the back bones on the roasting tray so I can use them to 
make stock with all the other bones.  They add great flavor.

Chickens cooking, I chose fabrics for my Cosmo bag.
I had bought some Amy Butler fabric at Alewives
that I've been dying to use, picked a charcoal gray for
my solid and a vibrant ocean turquoise green for the lining.
Really need that shot of color right now.

Then I proceeded to talk myself in off the ledge because I 
didn't have the woven fusible interfacing Ms Butler requires.

I did however have 5 yards of non woven fusible interfacing in
my stash and boldly decided to use it up.  Oye, now I know how
people feel when I say, if you don't have an ingredient in a
recipe, just substitute!  What if it doesn't work?  After all that
time and money and you've made a horrible decision?

Oh well, I'll let you know, because the nearest woven interfacing 
from me would have been 1 hour away in a snow storm.

Here she is, all cut out and lined, I've got the bands on and
will tackle the handles later today.  Wish me luck.

One more perspective of this kitchen.  In remodeling, we removed the wall
between the two rooms to make it one, and took out a big boxy entry way.
Look at the light flooding in.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy your day

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