|Dried inside and out,
salted and peppered inside and out
Lauren is a fabulous cook by all accounts. And she’s fairly no-nonsense as well. She claims she’s never had a bad bird with her method and that one and all love her chicken. I can vouch for both how good it is and how easy it can be cooked. All you do here is make sure the chicken is a dry as can be before it goes in the oven, use a heavy hand with salt and pepper—nothing else—and cook the bird in a nice hot oven without opening the door for the entire cooking time. Honestly, this chicken succeeds where every other recipe I’ve used was a failure. It is so delicious and it looks it. The crisp skin gives way to melt-in-your-mouth meat. I noticed no real difference between the juiciness of the breast meat and the dark meat of the legs and thighs. I believe that this high temperature method never gives the breast a chance to dry out. I will share a couple of things that I do think also counted besides the cooking method. You should find a smaller bird in the 2 ½ lb range. And you should spring for the good stuff. In this case, I used a bird that was not only organic but also Kosher. In case you are not familiar with Kosher chicken, it is like buying something that’s been pre-brined for you. The Koshering process must include a salt water bath which is followed by cold, spring water rinses. Kosher chicken is worth every penny extra you pay. And the Lauren’s Roast Chicken we ate yesterday had the added advantage of being organic which I swear makes a difference in taste.
|The Ancaster Mill, birthplace of the Roasted
Potatoes with Horseradish Dressing Recipe
Since the chicken simply could not be easier to cook, I want to serve a side dish I’d seen in Food and Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes (Volume 13, American Express Publishing 2010). It was for the best looking potatoes I’d seen in a long time. Little fingerlings were pictured golden and crisp and topped with a Horseradish cream. Then the dish is brought to life with a handful of watercress. It looked absolutely delicious and a perfect partner for Lauren’s perfect Roast Chicken. This recipe was created by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann whose Ontario restaurant “The Ancaster Mill” (548 Old Dundas Road, Ancaster, ON L9G 3J4 Tel: (905) 648-1828) has been at the forefront of the Canadian Slow Food movement. In their cookbook “Earth to Table” (Harper Collins 2009) Jeff waxes poetic about digging potatoes from the cold earth with his hands. I had to settle for potatoes dug cold from the refrigerator. The only labor here is peeling the fingerlings, part of the directions in the Food and Wine recipe, which, given their size, makes for small potatoes indeed. However when I was researching Chef Crump, I came upon an article in the Vancouver Sun in which he clearly states: “I prefer to roast potatoes whole ‘in their jackets,’ which allows them to retain all the flavour and even adds a bit of char to the skins”. Lord knows what they were doing at Food and Wine. But peeled or unpeeled, they were delicious as promised. And I ended up with a great deal of leftover Horseradish dressing only to discover it is excellent on asparagus too.
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
For the Dressing:
Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). In a medium bowl, toss potatoes, oil, wine, thyme and salt. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until very tender, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sour cream, vinegar and horseradish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.