Kids, some people tell me I can bake. Whatever, sure... I can build a cake, but my true talent is that I roast the hell out of any bird that crosses my path. Cornish Hens, Chicken, Quail, 20 pound Turkeys, Duck you name it. If it’s got 2 wings and drums – I’m roastin’ that son. I would go so far as to say that can credit my new engagement to my bird cooking abilities. Have you ever been to a Thanksgiving for Friends of mine? If so, you know firsthand that roasting a 20 pound bird to absolute tender and juicy perfection will win the heart of any man. If you haven’t attended Thanksgiving for friends, send me your address for the love of God.
Regardless, I want you to know that it’s easy - like the easiest thing ever to do. You can do this just as well as I can! Last night we were celebrating (err mourning?) the last frat dinner with Max and Todd together. Todd’s Chicago project is ending and he is permanently heading back to the west coast, and you know I roasted some birds. While it’s sad that Todd is leaving, we should all look on the bright side. There is still plenty of wine in the pantry…sooo…we’re all good! And Max is still here! (I kid!) (a little..) (No really I’m joking!....)
Back to forseriousness – bird + butter + herbs +garlic + oven + citrus = happiness. And you barely had to do anything but feel it up a little bit and stuff it. (I am sorry, I couldn’t resist. I figured it was better than a “Cavity” joke…)
Now watch how quickly this comes together:
1 (3-5 pound) roasting chicken
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 orange, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 thyme sprigs for the inside of the cavity
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Make sure you take the innards out of the cavity, and rinse the bird (in and out) well, and pat dry with paper towels.) Rub chicken all over with chopped garlic, thyme, orange juice, salt pepper. Lift the skin of the chicken and push palates of butter all over the breast of the bird under the skin. Season cavity with salt and pepper; stuff with garlic halves, orange and thyme. Brush chicken with butter; generously season with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Cross legs, and tie with kitchen twine.
Roast chicken, basting after 30 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reaches 165, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.
BOOM. That was it! You just roasted the hell out of a bird and barely did a thing! Now I prefer a carb dinner and you know that bird is not cutting my carb quotient of the day… so cue the Asiago polenta! I am not a fan of quick cooking anything, it sounds like cheating so I use stone ground corn grits polenta.
½ cup milk
1 stick butter
2 cup water
1 box vegetable stock (4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups stone ground corn grits polenta
2 cups grated Asiago cheese
In a covered pot, bring water, stock and salt to a boil.
When the liquid boils, gradually pour in the cornmeal while stirring vigorously with a wire whisk. Reduce the heat until the thickening cornmeal simmers gently. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick and tastes done. It should have a tiny bite too it, but feel smooth to the tongue and it should be begging for cheese. Add the milk and butter and stir until combined, remove from heat, and stir in the cheese. Generously season with salt and pepper.
I serve mine soft, you can let it firm up into molds if you really want too, but I dare you to resist the silky smooth asiago polenta. I dare you!
Stay tuned to see what I do with the leftover chicken, and I think there is carrot cake in your future. Can you smell the nutmeg?