Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Special - Oprah's Vote For The Perfect Roast Chicken

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.


DebCarol said...

So . . . is that a left wing chicken or a right wing chicken??

Sue said...

You're funny. I've always found that the left wings are much tenderer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,

I have brined a turkey and used the drippings by separately making turkey stock without any salt to use for the gravy. It works really well and has never been too salty. (Then I can salt the rest of the stock later). No stuffing it, though, but we always have some non-meat eaters at Thanksgiving, so I make the stuffing separately anyway.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I think I'll stick to Giada's Garlic and Citrus Chicken if I were going to pick a chicken recipe that was not my own for the best. Of course those folks who cover roast chickens with bacon get a lot of credit too.

Hmmmm...I wonder if we'll be seeing lots of recipes on how to cook moose for the next four years. (Just don't use the "Into the Wild" method).

Emiline said...

Ha! That's me!

Hmm, too bad this recipe wasn't a winner. I love roasted chicken. So very comforting and delicious.

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

I have never made something like this, with the chicken on the table I can see how well your turkey recipes will be for thanks giving :)

Skye said...

The chicken looks delicious! But, I really wanted to thank you for posting the link to Emiline's page for the bacon recipe.. I think I am going to make that for supper tonight! YUM! :O)

Sue said...

Hi Tom,
I’m confused. The drippings are what the turkey exudes as it cooks. To THAT you add stock? Or did you make the gravy without the actual drippings that belonged to the brined turkey? Or are you saying that you used the salty brined drippings and that was okay for gravy because your stock was unsalted?? Bear with me. I’m slow.

Good plan. I guess bacon goes with anything and if you’re Emiline, even dessert. And thank goodness we don’t have to watch National Geographic for cooking tips.

Yes, Em,
You'd be surprised how often your name comes up. Don’t bother with this recipe.

Hi Ramya,

Check my sidebar for Posts by Subject. Click on Thanksgiving and you’ll find lots of recipes and tips.

Thanks, Skye,
Yeah, Emiline is definitely the best for lots of stuff. And that bacon recipe is certainly to be recommended.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,

Unsalted turkey stock combined with salty brined turkey drippings for the gravy. Then I salted the remainder of the turkey stock for soup. Sorry for the confusion!

By the way, bacon also goes with chocolate -- Vosges chocolates sells a bacon bar that is out of this world!