With Election Day upon us, I finally had to chance to try this roast chicken recipe from Oprah's good friend Cristina Ferrare - sometime television host, author, actress, model, and, apparently, occasional cook for Oprah. Oprah has pronounced it the best roast chicken in the universe. I have always found Cristina very delightful and genuine, so why wouldn’t her chicken be good?
She mixes together Dijon, soy sauce and lemon juice and pours it over the chicken. You throw in some pepper and herbs on it too. Here is the recipe. It looks a little like a caramel or butterscotch sauce. (I guess that’s not such a stretch, since some folks cook bacon as if it were candy.)
Cristina’s recipe says to roast the chicken, covered with foil for 1 1/2 hours, at 425°F and then uncover it until done. My general philosophy is NOT to cover stuff with foil. I would rather get it to the right color and temperature and THEN cover it with foil, if it needs more cooking time. But I decided to play by her rules.
I tried to do as instructed, but after about an hour and 10 minutes in, I couldn’t help myself. I had to look at the chicken’s progress. It was a good thing I did. The pan was on its way to becoming completely burned, so I quickly poured some water in to loosen things up. I removed the foil and left it in only 5 minutes longer, because I thought things were happening more quickly than prescribed in the recipe.
It looked nice with a good color. There were drippings in the pan, so I decided to deglaze it and add some stock for a sauce. Even with a cup or two of stock, the sauce was way too salty, which was a shame.
I think that Cristina is relying on a trick that is used in almost every restaurant on the planet (or in one’s kitchen, when you want to impress), which is to add much more salt (or salty ingredients) than you would normally, so that the food “tastes” especially good.
Obviously, the drippings are not designed for a sauce and Cristina’s recipe never said that they were. But I feel that it’s a waste not to use all that wonderfulness in the pan. The mustard and soy sauce were okay as flavoring agents for the chicken, but if they render the drippings unusable, then that recipe is not for me.
It’s the same way I feel about brining a turkey. You can’t stuff it and you can’t use the drippings. No way is that going down in MY kitchen.
When I’m roasting poultry, I expect more from it than just the meat. I need sauce and occasionally stuffing. Sorry, Oprah, Cristina’s chicken does not get my vote.
Note: Some of her other recipes, which used the cooked chicken, looked okay.