Feb 16, 2010

Classic Dinner for $30

Sometimes, actually most of the time, we crave simple flavors within the comfort of our home. Last night I decided to go back to the basics with a roast chicken dinner. I refused to do anything fancy or buy anything at the store I wasn't immediately going to use. No bag of onions or garlic bulb that will dry out; no fresh chives or other herbs that will turn brown before I find time to use them again. Straight forward flavors with not a lot of fuss. It turned out to be the best meal I've made in a long time. It was well-rounded and warmed my soul. Who could ask for anything more? If this seems like a lot of steps, it's not! But the whole meal takes about 2 hours. End result: so worth it!

Roast Chicken with Lemon
5 lb roasting chicken
1 whole lemon, cut into wedges
4 Tbs. salted butter, softened
fresh ground pepper
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Pat chicken dry thoroughly. Place inside small roasting pan with flat rack. Season cavity with salt and pepper and place lemon wedges inside. Sprinkle entire outside of chicken with pepper and salt. Gently separate skin from breast meat and push butter under skin carefully. Slather softened butter over entire surface. Roast for 1 hour uncovered. Remove from oven and place foil over entire pan and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Remove when thermometer reaches 165ºF. Let rest for a least 30 minutes.

Yukon Mashed Potatoes
3-4 large yukon gold / butter potatoes
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light cream, warmed slightly
kosher salt

Peel and cube potatoes and place into pot of cold water with water coming 2-3" above potatoes. Cover until they come to boil. Boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Place stick of butter into stand mixer bowl near the sink so the potatoes can be transferred to bowl directly after being drained. With the stand mixer fitted with the flat paddle, whip potatoes until creamy. Slowly add cream into potatoes. Season with salt to taste. To keep warm, place stand mixer bowl over stock pot with simmering water (double-boiler method). Keep on low. Add more cream if potatoes are dry before serving.

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans
1/2 lb. fresh green beans
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Trim green beans by keeping stringy end, cutting or pulling vine/round end off. Place on large sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and scatter freshly grated cheese over top. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bean are slightly browned.

Mushroom Crisps
1/2 lb. fresh shitake mushrooms, whole
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
fresh ground pepper

Clean mushrooms by discarding stems. Keep caps whole. Melt butter over medium heat fry pan until foam subsides. Add mushrooms, season with pepper (no salt) and saute 2-3 minutes without touching or turning. Add fresh lemon juice to deglaze pan. Flip once and turn down to low for 30 minutes. Mushrooms will be caramelized and crispy.

Note: Mushrooms do not need salt. They love lemon and will be perfectly seasoned without salt.

Pan Gravy
5 Tbs. AP flour
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine

After chicken has been removed from pan, place on stovetop and bring to medium heat. Sprinkle flour over drippings and whisk thoroughly until flour is completely incorporated. Add white wine and whisk until wine is absorbed. Slowly add chicken stock a little at a time to pan whisking constantly. Let come to boil. Using a handheld strainer over a small sauce pan transfer sauce while straining. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep on a low simmer until ready to serve.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

looks superb, chin chin. ps, you're the only person i know who says chin chin, to date.

the best & tastiest roast chicken recipe i've come across is probably the simplest one as well.

let me introduce you to thomas keller's roast chicken