Roasted Chicken Demystified

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Roasted chicken can be one of those boring week night meals that everybody is sick of. Problem? They are not doing it right. I will teach you the easiest roasted chicken. The trick to a perfect bird is seasoning and cooking time.

Home cooks tend to take chicken out AT 165 degrees. Ding dong… it’s carry over cooking time calling.

Carry over cooking and resting any meat is essential to keep the it moist and let the juices rest. If cut the protein right away once pulled from the oven, all the juices will escape and you will have a dry product. Carry over cooking is the time when you pull the protein out of the oven until the time you cut it. There should be at LEAST a 5 minute resting period before you cut or serve your protein. Trust me on this… you will thank me.¬†#yourewelcome.

 

Here’s what you will need to create the perfect roast chicken:

  • 1 5 lb. Chicken (patted dry…this will help create a crispy skin)
  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened (This will make massaging the bird easy)
  • 3 Sprigs Sage, picked
  • 1 Small bunch Thyme, picked
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, picked
  • 1 Lemon, zested THEN sliced
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pat the bird dry and season generously with salt and pepper. I mean get in there, season the wings, the legs, the breast, the underside and even the cavity.

In a food processor,combine the stick of softened butter, herbs and lemon zest. Pulse this mixture until combined. Take a few slices of lemon and shove them under the skin of the breast. Now take a few more and shove them into the cavity of the chicken.

Step 2:

Massaging time! Rub the compound butter all over the chicken to make an even layer of butter. This will not only help with the flavor but also the crispiness of the skin. (after all who doesn’t like a crispy skin?)

Place in the oven on a wire rack with a baking pan under neath. If you do not have either of these place the chicken directly on a cookie sheet (not the underside of the chicken prepare this way will not be as crispy…but equally tasty) Cook the chicken at 375 for 1 hour, then turn the oven up to 400-425 for an additional hour. Pull the chicken just after 2 hours and let rest for 10 minutes.

 

Take a look at the end result….notice the skin golden brown and crispy, the herbs and the lemon under the skin make for an unreal roasted chicken experience.

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Copy That: Cheez Its

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One of my favorite snack crackers are Cheez Its. I love the cheesy, salty taste and the crisp bite. Lets be honest, I could eat the entire box in one sitting….don’t judge me. Last year while I was making a pre fixe menu for Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, I created a smoked tomato bisque. I wanted a functional garnish and right away thought cracker……but what kind? Cheez Its! My inspiration was a grilled cheese and tomato soup but more refined. The outcome was a smoky, creamy, salty soup with a crisp cheddar cracker almost identical to the beloved Cheez Its! Give them a try! You will not be disappointed. :-)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (feel free to use wheat flour for a healthier snack)
  • 1/2 stick cold butter (this needs to be cold to create the flaky crunchy texture you know and love with these tasty crackers)
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar (use orange to mimic the color as well!)
  • 1/2 tsp. piment d’ espellete (mild spice, feel free to substitute 1/8 tsp. cayenne)
  • Ice Water (this helps bring the dough together…more or less depending on the dough’s consistency)
  • Salt to taste, approximately 1/2 tsp.
  • Smoked Sea Salt for garnish (the smoked salt really makes these special, but feel free to use a salt of your liking)

Step 1:


Combine all ingredients in food processor, except the ice water. Pulse the ingredients until the butter is broken down into pea size balls (Think pie dough) Slowly stream in a little ice water at a time until the dough forms a uniform ball.

Take the ball out of the processor and let chill for 1 hour.

Step 2:

Take out the cracker dough from the fridge and roll out to desired consistency. I used a fluted cutter and also poked a hole in the center of the cracker to really resemble the traditional look of the Cheez It. I sprayed the crackers with a touch of water and sprinkled a touch of smoked salt on top. Bake the snack crackers at 350 degrees until lightly golden brown and puffed up. Let cool and enjoy!

 

***Tip: These crackers are best eaten the day of…..which shouldn’t be a problem considering how delicious they are! Take a peek at mine below.

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