Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Opening Course

Hello all and thank you for giving my Blog a try. I hope both my recipes and my writing do not disappoint. I've been toying with the idea of getting this Blog together for a few weeks, and in the middle of cooking I finally decided to whip out my camera and start working on it.

The key words of that last sentence are "in the middle of cooking." What I'm preparing this time is a very straightforward Rosemary Garlic Baked Chicken. Now my standard operating procedure will be to show you photos and explain the steps you see in each of them. This first post will include fewer pictures because I didn't get my camera out until the chicken was oven-ready.

The ingredients for this dish are fairly straightforward:
One whole chicken
Two teaspoons fresh or dried rosemary
One tablespoon garlic salt
5 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 pound sausage
2 slices Bread
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken stock

The assembly of this dish is also quite simple. Chop your rosemary finely and divide the pile in half, as half the rosemary will go to season the chicken and the other half to season the stuffing. Remove the giblets, heart and liver from your chicken. Place it in a baking dish and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a saucepan, break your sausage into small pieces, dime to quarter size.

Sprinkle a pinch of regular salt onto the sausage. Turn the heat under the saucepan to medium and add one teaspoon of the rosemary and a pinch of black pepper to it before it begins to cook. Once some of the grease has come put of the sausage, throw the /14 cup peas into the saucepan. If using frozen peas, let them defrost before removing from heat, otherwise remove from heat after 15 seconds or so. The stuffing has to cool down, so this would be a good point to cut your bread into dime to quarter size pieces and add to the saucepan. Give it a quick stir.

Now the temptation was strong for me to season the chicken while the stuffing was cooling to the point I could handle it, but if you get the seasoning on the chicken before you get the stuffing in, all the handling you will have to do getting the stuffing in will rub your seasoning off. The easiest way to get the stuffing in is to turn the chicken so it'd body cavity faces upward and just drop it in. If you prefer a slower yet more dignified method for stuffing the bird, be my guest.

Once you've stuffed the chicken, it's time to season it. Sprinkle the rest of your rosemary over the chicken. Do the rosemary first because it's leaves will have a hard enough time sticking without the garlic salt soaking up all the surface moisture. Once the rosemary is on, sprinkle the garlic salt over the chicken, followed by a light sprinkling of black pepper.

Now the final bit of seasoning is the "trick" to this recipe. There should be a small recess on the center of the breast of the chicken. Place a clove of garlic in the recess. Simply let it rest there. Take your other four cloves and stick them between the drumsticks and the body, and between the wings and the body. (see picture below for reference)

See the liquid in the bottom of the pan there? That's the chicken stock. Pour it into the bottom of the pan. After that, cover the entire thing in aluminum foil and get it into that preheated oven. Cooking time depends on the size of your chicken. For a 4 pound chicken, do about 2-1/2 hours. For a 3 pound chicken, 2 hours should be good. Don't go below 2 hours no matter how small your chicken is.

And here's what it looks like when it's done.

I suggest serving this with rice and broccoli. You can use some of the ample drippings on the rice to add some flavor, but don't overdo it. Don't forget to serve the garlic cloves as well.

Thanks for reading and come back later for my next installment: How to Cook Rice and Make it Interesting.