Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday night chicken dinner

As I've mentioned before, on weeknights I don't have a lot of time and energy for cooking, so I do a lot of prep work on the weekends and try to choose weekday meals that aren't too difficult. I tend to cook more complicated and time consuming dishes on Sundays. Today it was a brined roast chicken from the Bouchon cookbook, with a couple of vegetable sides.

I don't use my
Bouchon cookbook much, so I decided it was time to put it to use. The roasted chicken recipe is something that you definitely need to plan out ahead of time. The brine is flavored with garlic, rosemary, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves, honey, lemon and thyme, and is best made a day in advance. The chicken needs to brine for 6 hours prior to cooking. The chicken roasts at 475 degrees, which gives the skin a beautiful mahogany sheen. The nice thing about brining is that it provides extra insurance that you'll end up with a moist bird even if you overcook it a little. In my case, it came out perfectly cooked.


Was it worth the extra effort to brine the chicken? I think so, I'll be doing it again in the future.

I chose two new vegetable recipes to accompany the chicken. First up is sherry vinegar and molasses glazed carrots, from the latest issue of Bon Appetit. If I was making this for a special occasion I would pay the extra money for baby carrots; this was a casual dinner so I went with larger carrots cut into sticks. The carrots are simmered in a mixture of butter, sherry vinegar, molasses and water, and then glazed with more molasses and vinegar and finished with salt, pepper and parsley. The molasses and vinegar added a nice complexity to what would otherwise be a pretty standard glazed carrot recipe. I also added a little fleur de sel at the end for some crunch.


Next up was spinach with garlic confit from the Bouchon cookbook. Garlic confit is made by slowly simmering whole cloves of garlic in canola oil. The dish combines butter, minced shallots, fresh spinach, garlic confit, salt and pepper. It's actually quite simple and quick if you make the garlic confit in advance.

Overall, the meal was a great success. I love it when I try new recipes and everything comes out the way it's supposed to.

On an unrelated note, my friend Mary Rose sent me this great link to Cooks Illustrated's grocery shopping guide. I love that Cooks Illustrated tests out all these ingredients, I don't love that I can't find a lot of the top rated brands in California!

11 comments:

Tyrone said...

The chicken looks great... moist and tender!

Jaime said...

looks like a wonderful meal! i've never brined a chicken before...

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Brining is worth it every time.
I'm planning on brining my turkey again this year. Makes for a very moist bird.

Helene said...

That chicken looks so moist & good. I love that cookbook.

mike said...

I've used that brine too (on pork), with great success. It's definitely a keeper, even if it does take quite while to prepare...

http://cookingbouchon.blogspot.com/2008/07/brine.html

Cakebrain said...

Yummy looking chicken! Brining is the only way to go for juicy meat!yay!

Robin Sue said...

Sara what a great meal. I have always wondered if brining was worth the extra effort so it was nice to hear that it is. I will have to try it sometime! The spinach sounds great!

Ana Powell said...

Hi Sara
The chicken looks great, moist and crispy. Just great.
Wishing you a lovely weekend.
Ana x

Debbie said...

These are amazing!

Maris said...

Looks like a great Sunday meal! I love spinach with anything - in eggs, in quiche, pasta, salads or as a stand-alone, wilted with some olive oil. yum!

mike said...

The spinach and chicken are great recipes, and I think they're pretty foolproof.

Looks tasty!