Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Post: Roasted Chicken a la Jannick

You know what Lisa and readers? When I was 11 my most daring culinary adventure was making scrambled eggs. In a bad pot. On a bad electrical stove on low heat.

I had to keep stirring it or it would burn. It was in those loooong minutes of making my eggs that I learned one of the most important lessons of cooking: patience.

The taste of the food you make is an expression of the love, patience and products you put in to it. If one of them fails, so will your dinner. Back then I didn’t know I loved to cook, I just did it, later making many more dishes.

It wasn’t until a 22-23 year old British dude with an awesome accent showed up in Danish television that I felt truly inspired and just had to get going with this cooking thing. Fortunately my best friend was right there with me. So we made a lot of his recipes. I am of course talking about Jamie Oliver, and even though we left a mess to be cleaned, the food usually turned out very good and people were happy.

The recipe I’d like to share here is Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Chicken. I’ve made this on several occasions and it seems that both young and old share my profound liking for this juicy, tender and very flavorful piece of chicken. It’s so easy it’s almost a joke.

It can be done in many different ways, but I do have two favorites though: Jamie Oliver’s original recipe (from his book) with prosciutto (use imported for better result) and lemon and my own version with parsley, thyme and garlic. All neatly mixed with a very good nub of butter.

Before starting to cook make sure to have everything prepared. I usually add these main ingredients to my cooking experience:

-         tasting what is being made
-         getting the hands dirty (it’s not hard to get olive oil and butter off your hands)
-         drinking alcoholic beverage (Don’t deny yourself something sparklyJ)
-         laughing
-         sharing the moment with family and friends

Recipe: Perfect Roast Chicken The guidelines are all in his recipe; here I’ll instead share my own experience with making the dish.

First and foremost: every time I make chicken in the oven, I need to search for how many degrees and time per pound. So here are the guidelines. For this chicken I put it at 375 F/190 C for approximately 80 minutes. The chicken was 1,8 kg or very close to 4 pounds.

How would you like the potatoes? Cooked quicker to give it a more potato/French fry taste or slowly cooked for a more creamy texture on the inside and very tasty?

Quick: Add the potatoes approximately 45 minutes before the chicken is done.
Slow: Add them immediately.

I want low maintenance and tasty potatoes so I’ll add them immediately. Meanwhile you can concentrate on fresh raw vegetables, a salad, bread or whatever else you would like.

Since you already have the potatoes you don’t really need to add more carbs to the meal, which bread would give you, so better go for greens. If you really want bread I urge you to make this very easy no-knead bread recipe, it’s easier to make than the chicken.

Timeline for when the chicken and potatoes are in the oven:

30 minutes: turn chicken to breast side upwards. Taste the potatoes for the first time. Oops, I added too much water and they started to boil a little. Drained water.
60 minutes: Taste potatoes again.  Mine needed more salt- sea salt of course!
80 minutes: Cut into chicken. Looks great? Potatoes are tasty? Mine were.

I found out how to cut a chicken with practically a butter knife observing our “chicken lady” in Oaxaca, Mexico. At the local market a row of vendors have their chickens stacked and you just order what you’d like. Throughout our two-year stay we had bought all parts of the chicken so I got my visual course on how to cut a whole chicken into its parts  (raw though): ). She gave me an F in the exam, but that didn’t discourage me (not true at all, I got a C (not true either, there was no exam)).

When making this dish watch out for these mistakes:
- Too much water in the pan – this will boil the potatoes to mush. Just add butterJ
- Too little water – guess! Yes, they will burn and stick to the pan.
- Not tasting potatoes half or ¾ way through – always taste the food.
- Not checking the chicken. Is it all the way cooked? Too dry? Obvious one, yet important. The difference between a very moist and juicy chicken and a dry one is just 5 more minutes in the oven
- Wet and soggy skin on the breast side of the chicken – Did you turn it after 30 minutes? Did you give it a 450 F whack the last 5-7 minutes?

Ideas to improve recipe for an even better result:
- See if you can cut the chicken without breaking the skin so the flavor can sink in even deeper.
- Cover the chicken or make it in a Dutch oven for a more moist and juicy result.
- Cook it for a longer time at a little lower heat (link to example 350 F: http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t--911/chicken-cooking-times.asp)
- Increase heat to around 450 the last 5-7 minutes for a good munching on the skin.
- Increase/decrease whatever flavor you would like more/less of. I consider taste in terms of heavy (lots of butter and prosciutto) or lighter (more lemon). What does your craving tell you?

Bon Appetit.

Thanks Lisa for giving me this opportunity, it was a pleasure writing this and a pleasure getting to know you!

Great day to all!

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Jannick Kjaer is co-founder of the website Julio’s Sol: an online magazine that explores and uncovers the internal and external processes we all go through in the pursuit of our passion or dream. Our wish is to see a world where everyone is a creative expression of his/her passion. Dream it. Live it. Repeat.

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Thanks for this tasty post Jannick!

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Eliana said...

Few things are better than a good roasted chicken and this one could not look more delicious. Love it! Thanks so much for sharing.

The Duo Dishes said...

Getting your hands in there is key! Oh, and so is wine. Delicious meal. A roasted bird is always so simple, elegant and tasty.

Sweet Tooth Desserts said...

This looks so yummy!! I might have to try this!!

Sanura @ MyLifeRunsOnFood.com said...

There's many different ways to roast a chicken. With each person's technique, I'm able to improve my recipe. Love the suggestions for cooking the potatoes. I love my potatoes cooked slow for a creamy texture.

Jannick Kjaer said...

Hi Guys, I am happy you like it, I enjoyed making it getting my hands all sticky in that butter, prosciutto and herb mix!

I wish you all a great weekend!

glamah16 said...

That has to be the best dinner ever!

Lisa said...

eliana - You're right! A good roast chicken is a classic, like a little black dress!

the duo dishes - The wine was a nice addition!

sweet tooth desserts - Me too!

sanura - That's a good point. I've only made roast chicken from scratch, once. So I need to try many more times to get my recipe down.

jannick - Thanks again for the post!

glamah - I love the picture at the end especially. I'm sure they had a great time!

Can-Can said...

Oooh-chile. I haven't roasted a whole chicken in a little while but I'll be correcting that soon after seeing the photo and the recipes. I love roaast chicken sandwiches with Dijon mustard on one slice of bread and mayo on the other. I did make broil some delicious bluefish with lime mustard sauce - it was delicious but not roast chicken.

Lisa said...

can-can - LOL! That bluefish sounds good. I'm going to have to try mustard lime sauce.

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