|Ginger Roast Chicken and Elbow Macaroni with Tomatoes and Pan Sauce|
Talk about a dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts!!! I heard the creator of this dish, Molly Stevens, describing it to Lynne Rosetto Kasper on The Splendid Table. ("The show for people who love to eat", on NPR). That's where I got the recipe, and honestly, I don't believe I altered it very much at all. Just added a full pound of macaroni to use up the box! So this recipe actually became the catalyst for me to do my research into the process of salting meat, and it's also what led to that steak post in the first place. Molly's description sounded so EASY, but her brags were pretty extraordinary.
Molly promised that this recipe would give me the most flavorful roast chicken I had ever had in my life.
I thought I already HAD the most flavorful roast chicken recipe that I had ever had in my life. Could she REALLY one-up me? In the name of science, I had to know.
Molly also promised that this chicken would have a wonderful, crispy skin. Now, my roast chicken is indeed wonderful, but, the skin is not particularly crispy. And I love rotisserie chicken that you get where the skin has that wonderful little crisp thing going on. So, the promise of crispy skin AND flavorful meat pushed me over the edge, and I caved. This one, I would try.
There is some kind of strange and wonderful alchemy that goes on between the chicken, the ginger, the tomato, the wine, the pan juices and the pasta. I used macaroni, because I had some in the pantry. You could probably use something else. But I am telling you that, surprisingly to me, plain old macaroni was the perfect vehicle, in terms of size and texture, to hold the delicious sauce that was produced via the tomatoes, the ginger, and the pan drippings. It reminds me a bit of the aromatic sauce that goes with tikka masala. The pan drippings have a lovely depth of flavor because not only do they contain the giblets, but since the chicken is roasting on a rack above them, they are more exposed to the heat, thus have an opportunity to caramelize in the shallow pan.
You may remember from my previous post on salting beef, that salting needs to be done in advance to allow the salt to do it's thing. Remember, INITIALLY, it does draw the juices out of the meat, but given enough time, it dissolves, and then gets drawn back INTO the meat, penetrating way down deep, so the juices and the flavor go way back in, giving you just what you want: meat that is flavorful AND juicy.
While we only let the steaks sit for an hour and a half following being salted (they had dry aged prior to that for 4 days), a whole chicken will provide the best flavor given a minimum of 8 hours, and for better flavor, 24 hours. (Molly stated that she had, at times, kept a salted chicken in the fridge up to 48hrs.)
|Don't know if you can tell it by looking, but that skin really was CRISPY!!! Mmmm!|
So, here's the recipe:
Ginger Roast Chicken and Elbow Macaroni with Tomatoes and Pan Sauce
1 T. plus 2 t. peeled and grated fresh ginger, divided
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb. chicken, preferably with giblets
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine (I used white wine)
1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice (I used the fire-roasted variety, because I really like the flavor)
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley, or fresh basil
- Season the chicken: in a small bowl, combine 1 T. of the ginger, 2 t. of the olive oil, 1 t. salt, and 3/4 t. pepper. This will have the consistency of a paste.
Over the sink, remove the giblets from the chicken, which are usually tucked into the cavity. Discard the liver. Set the giblets aside. Rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold running water and then blot dry with wads of paper towels. With your fingers or a knife, remove all large blobs of fat from the neck or body cavity opening. Starting at the cavity opening, gently slide your fingers between the skin and the muscle tissue, loosening the skin at the bottom of the breast and around the thighs. (This is where you will be putting the spice paste you made: you're just making an opening place for it to go.) Do this at the neck end as well, loosening the skin that covers the top of the breast. Now rub about 3/4 of the ginger paste under the skin, in the areas you have loosened. Rub the remaining 1/4 of the ginger paste inside the cavity of the bird. Next, smear the exterior surface of the bird's skin with about 1 t. of olive oil, giving the chicken a nice massage. Then season the exterior of the bird liberally with more salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips back so they are secure under the neck bone. Refrigerate the bird and the giblets for at least 8 hours, and up to 48 hours. (I salted my bird 24 hours in advance.)
- Preheat the oven: When it's time to cook the bird, preheat the oven to 400º, positioning the rack in the center of the oven.
- Roast the chicken: If you have giblets, put them on a low-sided roasting pan (I used a jellyroll baking sheet) and set a roasting rack over the giblets. Put the chicken breast side up on the rack. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken, and put the chicken in the oven with the legs facing the rear wall. After 25 minutes, open the oven door and pour the wine over the chicken. If at any time the liquid in the pan appears to dry up, add 1/4 c. water to the pan. (I never had to do this.) Continue roasting, basting the breast, until the juices run clear with only a trace of pink when you prick the thing and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) registers 170º, another 35 to 55 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your bird.
Lift the chicken out of the pan, using a fork or tongs to steady it, and carefully tilt it to pour the juices from the cavity into the roasting pan. Transfer the chicken to a carving board (preferably one with a trough). Discard the giblets, but reserve all the juices in the pan.
- Cook the macaroni: About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. While the chicken rests, warm a wide, shallow serving dish or bowl big enough for the cooked macaroni. Cook the macaroni until tender but not mushy, per the package directions.
- Make the sauce: While the macaroni is cooking, in a medium (10") skillet, heat the remaining 1T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, the remaining 2 t. ginger, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and just golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring often, evaporating some of the juice, until the tomatoes begin to brown in spots, about 8 minutes, scraping up any caramelized bits. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the parsley or basil.
- Sauce the macaroni, carve the chicken and serve: Drain the macaroni and transfer it to the warmed serving dish. Add the sauce along with all the juices form the roasting pan, (Don't skim the fat from the roasting pan juices: you need it to enrich the pasta.)Toss well, taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken, add any carving juices to the macaroni, and serve the chicken alongside the macaroni. Garnish with herb sprigs, if desired.
|We served ours with roasted broccoli. I intend to give you that recipe, soon.|
How was it? Spectacular! Will I be making it again? Oh, yeah. I'm even thinking that I could do a hybrid of this recipe and my other recipe, in which rather than a ginger paste, I just do a garlic paste, and salt the chicken as well, roasting my veggies on that jellyroll pan, but with the chicken up on a rack to encourage better crispness on the underside of the bird.
Have you ever tried salting your meat and letting it rest in the fridge for a day?