Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is That Chicken? What the Heck Happened...

Say hello to a butterfly cut whole chicken. This is a great way to cook a chicken because it cooks quicker than a regular whole chicken. Yes, I know it looks really weird but it is still just a chicken. For directions on how to make a chicken look like a freak of nature go here (they also tell you how to grill a butterfly cut whole chicken- I can't wait to try it).

I decided to try a new recipe tonight- well, I was going to try it last night but for some reason meat does not defrost all that fast in my refrigerator so the chicken was still hard as a rock. Today, I took out the chicken and defrosted it in cold water.

The original recipe for Jamie Oliver's Tray Baked Chicken is here. I, of course, did not follow the original recipe. I used a whole chicken instead of a whole chicken cut into pieces (I am not at the level that I can butcher a whole chicken- someday) As far as the brine that is called for, I didn't do it the way he said to. I was feeling a bit frazzled and just threw the chicken in some water with a cup of kosher salt for 1 1/2 hours.

Here is my version of Tray Baked Chicken:

One whole chicken, butterfly cut
2 slices bacon, chopped (I put it into the pan raw)
5 peeled red potatoes, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
dried sage (my grocery store didn't have fresh sage)
olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2/3 cup milk (no heavy cream in the house)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
four pats of butter

Just like in the original recipe, I placed the potatoes, garlic, onion, bacon, sage (I just shook the dried sage on until it looked like enough- a chef I am not), a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper into the pan. Then I poured the stock over everything, mixed it up a bit and put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of cooking I took the pan out of the oven and poured in the milk and Parmesan cheese and mixed it up. I moved the veggie mixture over to the sides an plopped the chicken in the middle. I put salt and pepper on the chicken and then placed four pats of butter on it. I cooked it until the juices ran clear, or for those of you who have an instant read thermometer that works- until the chicken reaches 180 degrees.

The potatoes came out to die for. They had a light cheesy taste and the smokiness from the bacon put them over the top. As far as the chicken goes- it came out ok. My major issue was the pan I used. I was going to use my usual baking dish but went into a last minute panic when I realized that a butterfly cut chicken would not fit into it. I found a pan that would fit the chicken but it had really high sides; high sides equal longer cooking time and not too much browning of the skin. Next time I will find a pan with lower sides. I will also defrost the chicken the day before and the day of cooking I will make a proper brine and brine it for eight hours. I will also leave myself enough time to bake the chicken at 325 degrees- I find that it comes out way more moist being cooked at that temperature.

So, all in all, it was a good recipe (healthy, um- no). The potatoes were awesome and I see myself serving them a lot in the future as their own dish. Next time I make the chicken I am sure it will come out perfect-o, as long as I do a little bit of planning ahead (not a skill that I am very good at).

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