A Bird in the Pan

The culinary chameleon, the chicken aka Gallus Domesticus. There are over 8 billion worldwide!

There are some rules when it comes to handling chicken.

  • Always store chicken on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator and cook to 170 degrees to kill bacteria.
  • Repeat after Alton…”Organization will set me free.” Prep or gather everything you need before you begin. The french call this Mise en Place and this is how I like to cook. Everything neat and organized!
  • I use a separate cutting board for just chicken, so there is never any confusion.
  • Wash those nasty chicken hands with lots of hot water and lots of soap!

Roasting Pans are important. The right roasting pan evenly distributes, absorbs and reflects heat and can even straddle two burners for quick browning and sauce reduction. Secondly, upright sturdy handles are good so you can grab onto them with oven mitts. Thirdly polished surfaces reflect heat and hold on to pan drippings, something non-stick surfaces can not do. Also, another nice touch is flared edges for easy foil crimping.
Alton does not like the roasting racks because number one food sticks to them and they’re hard to clean and number two they don’t bring any flavor. So instead to get the roast up and out of the juices he suggests floating them on aromatic vegetables, even if maybe they’re a little past their prime. Unfortunatley, we are in a recession, so my budget doesn’t allow me to purchase one of those really expensive huge roasting pans, but Linda (Len’s Mom) gave me a smaller one from their deli they owned in New York! I love cookware with history, and I’m so honored she gave it to me!

Seasoning under the skin is very effective because the skin keeps whats in, in and whats out out. The seasonings, if under the skin, won’t burn and won’t get in the way of the skin browning when exposed to direct heat from broiling.

Everyone’s oven is different so you’ll have to watch the bird in order to know when to flip and when it’s done. The door must be left open to first position so the broiler doesn’t turn off.

Don’t forget to let the chicken rest so the juices can redistibute through the meat.

Broiled, Butterflied Chicken
(Printable Recipe)

* 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 lemon, zested
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Onions, carrots and celery cut into 3 to 4-inch pieces
* 3 to 4-pound broiler/fryer chicken
* 1 cup red wine
* 8 ounces chicken stock (low sodium or it will taste like the dead sea!)
* 2 to 3 sprigs thyme
* Canola oil

Position the oven rack 8 inches from the flame/coil and turn broiler to high. Crack peppercorns with a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Add garlic and salt and work well. Add lemon zest and work just until you can smell lemon. Add just enough oil to form a paste.

Check out your refrigerator for onions, carrots and celery that are a little past their prime. Cut vegetables into pieces and place in a deep roasting pan.

Place chicken on a plastic cutting board breast-side down. Using kitchen shears, cut ribs down one side of back bone and then the other and remove. Open chicken like a book and remove the keel bone separating the breast halves by slicing through the thin membrane covering it, then by placing two fingers underneath the bone and levering it out. Turn chicken breast-side up and spread out like a butterfly by pressing down on the breast and pulling the legs towards you. Loosen the skin at the neck and the edges of the thighs. Evenly distribute the garlic mixture under the skin, saving 2 teaspoons for the jus. Drizzle the skin with oil and rub in, being sure to cover the bird evenly. Drizzle oil on bone side of chicken as well.

Arrange bird in roasting pan, breast up, atop vegetables.

Place pan in oven being sure to leave the oven door ajar. Check bird in 10 minutes. If the skin is a dark mahogany, hold the drumstick ends with paper towels and flip bone-side up. Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Juices must run clear. Remove and place chicken into a deep bowl and cover loosely with foil.

Tilt pan so that any fat will pool at corner. Siphon this off with a bulb baster. (This fat is great in vinaigrettes). Set pan over 2 burners set on high. Deglaze pan with a few shots of red wine and scrape brown bits from bottom using a carrot chunk held with tongs. Add chicken stock, thyme, the remaining garlic paste and reduce briefly to make a jus. Strain out vegetables and discard. Slice chicken onto plates or serve in quarters. Sauce lightly with jus and serve.
Recipe Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

I learned a lot doing this recipe. Number 1, I need a new set of kitchen shears. Mine were just not cutting it, literally. I took off a little more than just the backbone with butterflying, so my chicken was a lot more “open” than it should have been. Number 2, my broiler even on high is very weak. When reading the reviews of this recipe a lot of people said they had to double or more their cooking times. That is about what I had to do as well. I don’t blame Alton for this because everyones oven is different.

We had Frank, Len’s brother, over for dinner to help eat all the chicken. So after about an hour and 15 minutes it was ready. I awaited the verdict…They both said it was really, really good and well worth the wait! Success again! I just quarterd the chicken and gave them each half. I also made some slices along the breast and poured the jus on top which was really tasty as well. Along side of it I made Alton’s mashers, awesome again. I didn’t get a chance to take an after picture because when men are hungry, they need to eat! Even with a bit more cooking time, still Good Eats.

Until next time…don’t cry foul 🙂


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