I've been wanting to roast a chicken for the past three weeks. At the outset of this desire, I had scored a Dewberry Hills Farms pastured bird from the free-box at work, but as it is with life, I was unable to get to it for a few days. When I opened it up, and inspected it, it was just not right. I tried an eight hour brine to possibly knock out what ever had made it off, and although the bird was looking plump, and saturated, I just didn't feel good about it. I do not like food borne illness, and as a certified food manager, trust my judgement about what should and should not go in my stomach. That being said, I also dislike wasting food, especially meat. That poor little chicken died for nothing, and that sucks.
Friday, I went up to the Ville and bought some groceries that I needed to cook my friends KJ and Bianci dinner, including a beautiful Dewberry Hills Farm chicken. Earlier in the week, we had gotten some of the most gorgeous brussels sprouts from the ladies out at Montesino Ranch in Wimberly, which may have been the first organic brussels I'd ever seen in the six and a half years I've been working in a natural foods grocery. They sold like crack rocks in drought season, and I, being the dealer, set some aside for myself. Always thinking ahead...
Anyway, I've roasted my share of chickens, employed a myriad of techniques, and have always enjoyed the results. I chose to use the Gastronome's recently posted recipe, mainly because of its spotlight on one of the season's finest products: the Meyer lemon. Plumper, rounder and more sweet than its sour, oblong cousin, the Meyer lemon is a mid-winter treat that should be enjoyed as much as possible in its short window of availability. We'll have them for a few more weeks probably, but I can't guarantee that.
To compliment this beautiful birdy, I made some mac and cheese with gruyere, applewood smoked cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano, topped with homemade rosemary bread crumbs. The brussels--which KJ practically jizzed in his pants over--were blanched along with some orange chard and turnips from the garden, and finished in the chicken fat (a.k.a. schmaltz). Everything was served up family style, and I carved the bird at the table, ensuring that everyone got the pieces they wanted. The bird turned out rather perfectly; the meat was succulent and flavorful, and the skin had a nice crisp to it.
On a non-couple feeding related note, this week has been kinda crazy, and not much cooking has transpired in my home. There will be some more consistent posting beginning tomorrow, and a few sweet food events going on this weekend including a pig roast and a venison dinner party. Please stay tuned.