Friday, November 7, 2008

Ina’s Chicken Gets My Vote Everytime

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics with Ina Garten

Chicken All The Time
Garlic Roast Chicken
Chicken Bouillabaisse

Ina is showing Susan Stroman how to roast a chicken. Oh goodie, ‘cause we get to see it too.

The BC takes out a gorgeous chicken and tells us that she salts (and peppers) it as soon as she gets it home from the store. She says it’s all about getting flavor inside the chicken.

She takes a whole head of garlic and cuts it in half and puts it in the chicken with a quartered lemon. She ties up the legs and tucks the wings under.

Ina reminds us to use a not-too-big pan. She puts the following in the bottom of the pan: one sliced onion (or ½ a huge Spanish onion), sliced carrots and 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large pieces.

Ina places a 5 to 6 pound chicken on top, which she says will serve 3 people. She dries it well with a paper towel and brushes the outside of the skin with butter. This will brown the chicken and give it lots of flavor. She drizzles a little of the butter on the vegetables and adds salt and pepper. The chicken gets cooked at 425°F for 1¼ to 1½ hours.

How do you know if is done? Susan wants to know. Ina says to cut between the leg and thigh and if the juices run clear, it’s done. Then you remove the chicken from the pan, cover it with foil and put the vegetables back in for 15 minutes more to get nice and browned.

Ina uncovers the chicken with a flourish and shows Susan how to carve off the leg. Then Ina cuts off the breast and carves it crosswise. She continues carving and plating. The vegetables come out and she adds them to the platter. Susan wants to take the entire platter home and serve it for dinner, pretending that she made it. Ever-generous Ina says that’s fine and tells her she can reheat it at 300°F for 15 minutes.

Jeffrey appears. Ina exclaims, “Make a roast chicken and a man shows up!” Jeffrey grabs a piece of chicken. He says this is the best chicken she’s ever made. I love Jeffrey. Oh, I guess Susan’s not taking the platter back to NY. She looks pissed!

Ina’s sitting at her computer outside. How does she do that? I always get glare on my computer when I try to use it outside. Oh, there are some video questions from viewers about different ways to serve chicken.

While Ina’s outside, she gathers some fresh herbs in the Versailles-like garden outside her house. She cuts fresh dill and parsley and nibbles on mint. Then she retrieves some rosemary off of a HUGE tree-like bush.

She pours olive oil (not just a bit) into a Dutch oven. The Contessa shows us how to cut up a raw chicken. She starts by cutting out the backbone and saving it for stock. She places the chicken, skin side down on a board and cuts through the bone attached to the 2 breasts. She cuts it in two and then cuts off the leg and thigh and then the wing.

Ina dries the chicken well so it browns. She seasons it with salt and pepper and lots of fresh chopped rosemary. She adds it skin side down to the hot oil and browns it on both sides, about 5 minutes cooking time total. She does that in 2 batches.

Ina shares her homemade chicken stock recipe, which she keeps in the freezer. She adds 3 large chickens to a stockpot; 3 unpeeled yellow onions with skins still on; 6 large carrots, halved; 4 sticks of celery, cut in thirds; 4 halved parsnips: 20 sprigs of parsley; 20 sprigs of dill; 15 sprigs of thyme; a whole head of garlic, halved; 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt; 2 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns: and 7 cups of water. The whole thing gets simmered for 4 hours uncovered. Wait, that’s not much stock. HOW does that give you enough chicken stock for 6 months??? OH!!! She said 7 QUARTS of water. That makes much more sense…

Ina peels garlic for the chicken bouillabaisse. She puts an entire head of peeled garlic into the oil with 1 teaspoon of saffron. Hmm, I usually add saffron to liquid, not oil. Whole fennel seeds go in with a 15 ounce can of tomato purée. She adds 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade and one cup of good white wine. Always use the one you’re going to drink, she says.

Next, Ina stirs in 3 tablespoons of Pernod, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. She simmers it for 30 to 40 minutes until the garlic is soft and sweet.

Ina slices 1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes and sets them aside. She purées all that stuff from the pot in a food processor. That gets added back to the pot. The seared chicken goes in with all its juices and the sliced potatoes go in. She bakes it at 300°F for 45 to 50 minutes.

To serve with the chicken, Ina makes rouille, a garlicky mayo. She talks to us about how she gets the most flavor out of a dish. She has 3 different ways to do this: the first is the actual process of cooking, the second is the ingredients she uses and the third is what she pairs the dish with. The chicken bouillabaisse demonstrates these 3 ways of enhancing the flavor of a dish – something Ina always does well.

She chops 4 cloves of garlic with 11/2 teaspoons salt to break it down. If she put the plain cloves into the food processor, they would just whirl around the blade.

Ina adds 1 egg yolk, which must be at room temperature or it won’t absorb the oil. (She tells us that eggs can sit out for days in their nice hermetically sealed package.)

She adds 1½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, which is a flavor she likes in a good mayonnaise, and ½ teaspoon saffron with ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes. Incidentally, Ina says if you’re worried about raw egg, just skip the rouille or use pasteurized eggs.

While the machine is running, Ina slowly pours in one cup of olive oil, so the egg yolk can incorporate the olive oil. The Contessa likes the combination of cooked garlic with the bite of raw garlic in this dish.
She spoons it into a silver sauce boat.

Isn’t this about the time that Jeffrey usually shows us?” Yup, and there he is. ”Did I hear my name?” he says.

She serves Jeffrey a big bowl of chicken bouillabaisse, “How many ways can you make chicken?” he says in awe. Ina should rent out her husband. She adds a dollop of rouille. He tries it. He says he’s gotta taste some more. He loves it. She’s thrilled. I’m thrilled. Everyone’s thrilled.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

She should have made the roast chicken covered in bacon. Now that's a roast chicken.

Sue said...

Hi Rach,
Right you are. Maybe that's coming next week...

Andiclare said...

I'll have to try that bacon trick. I have a way of roasting chicken I thought I'd share, because it always turns out really good. Part of the idea is from Tyler Florence's show on Thanksgiving turkey from last year.

I start with split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin on). rinse and pat dry then salt and pepper like Ina does. Then I make an herbed butter. Basically it's softened butter mixed with rubbed sage and some crushed rosemary and thyme. (I know fresh is best, but it's so rare I can get ahold of fresh herbs, so I usually use dried and crushed rosemary and thyme.)

Anyhow, mix up the butter and rub it all over the chicken, inlcuding underneath the skin. Then I push a few verrry thin (like paper-thin)slices of garlic under the skin as well. Roast skin-side-up in 425-450 degree oven for about 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the exact oven temp and the size of the chicken breasts.

Anyhow...just thought I'd share that, because the chicken always comes out very flavorful with a nice crispy skin. This also works very well with turkey.

Thanks for your blog, Sue. It's my favorite on the web. :)

Anonymous said...

I made the bouillabaisse and it was delicious with 2 caveats: get rid of almost all the fat after you brown the chicken because there's a ton of it (the recipe in the book doesn't mention that), and the rouille is actually too much for the dish, in my opinion. Use it very sparingly. Or, better yet, spread it on pieces of toasted baguette to serve with the dish. The sauce is really wonderful but not as rich as you might think, so the rouille can really take over.


Lys said...

This episode was excellent. If I could just learn to roast a chicken, there would be no need for me to pick one up in the market...

Ina Garten always excels - love her!

Anonymous said...

I want to get my hair cut like Susan Stroman's on this episode - but cannot find a photo or video.

Anyone have a suggestion?

Sue said...

Sorry, Anon. I checked to see if I still had the episode on my TIVO, but it was long gone. I would have taken a picture for you. I found these pictures of her on Yahoo Images. Maybe one of them is what you're looking for.