Monday, January 11, 2010

Pesto Roast Chicken

I was "chicken" last night.

I've cooked outside several times in the past week despite temps in the 20s and teens. But yesterday when I looked out at my Big Green Egg, I just didn't have it in me. I "chickened" out.

I had already brined a chicken in a simple brine (salt, peppercorns, bay leaf) for a few hours. Since I wasn't going to be cooking with live fire and would be missing that je ne sais quoi that fire roasting brings, I wanted something with a little "wow" in the flavor department. This one from The Bon Appetit Cookbook seemed to fit the bill.

Pesto Roast Chicken
Source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook

1 whole chicken
7 ounces pesto sauce, divided
3 TB white wine
3/4 c plus 2 TB low-salt chicken broth
2 TB all purpose flour
3 TB heavy cream

Instructions As Retold by Chris
Instead of roasting the bird whole, I decided to spatchcock the chicken. Reserve 1 TB of the pesto sauce and rub the rest all over and UNDER the chicken skin.

Place a cast iron skillet in the oven and then preheat the oven to 450f. When the oven comes to temp, place the chicken in the skillet skin side up. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce temp to 375f and continue cooking until the chicken has an internal temp of 160f in the breast and 180f in the thigh. (About 1 hour.)

Remove chicken to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Pour the skillet juices into a glass measuring cup and skim any obvious fat off the top with a spoon. Put skillet on a burner at medium heat and deglaze the pan with the wine. I used more wine, about a quarter cup. Add wine juices to measuring cup. Top off with broth to make 1 cup.

Preheat a small heavy saucepan and add the cup of broth/wine/drippings mixture. Make a slurry by whisking the 2 TB broth and 2 TB of flour and then add to the sauce pan. Bring to a boil while whisking and let thicken (about 5 minutes). Add the cream and 1 TB of reserved pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make sure that you reserve the 1 TB of pesto BEFORE you start rubbing your chicken. You don't want to cross contaminate your gravy with e-coli.

The technique of rubbing a rub or paste under the chicken skin isn't a gimmick, it adds flavor to your roasted, baked, smoked, or grilled chicken. If you don't know how, watch THE VIDEO in this post at the 1:50 mark, they give a good demonstration. If you are just squeamish about handling chicken, try wearing latex or nitrile gloves.

A spatchcocked fryer fits perfectly in a large skillet.

I measure the wine very accurately, as you can tell;)


Plated with roasted carrots and a baked tater.

And we had one half breast leftover so tonight I diced it up and added it to a batch of garlic soup with bacon for some awesome leftovers.
Question: Does anyone know if handling food with latex gloves will cause problems for someone with latex allergies that eats your food or are latex allergies more of a skin contact issue?

And a quick game of "Versus": measuring cups/spoons vs. eyeballing/guestimating