garlic roast chicken

we got our hands on some old cook’s country and cook’s illustrated magazines. both are really good reads, but i like cook’s illustrated better because it has nice color photos, more reader stories, and reader competitions. maybe after we move i’ll get a one year subscription. that’ll probably last a few years since there are so many recipes.

anyway, the “ultimate garlic roasted chicken” sounded and looked really good.

garlic roast chicken

50 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (3.5-4) whole chicken
salt and pepper
1.75 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon

1. adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. combine garlic and oil in small saucepan. cook, covered, over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and straw-colored, 10 to 15 minutes. reserve 1 tbsp oil and transfer remaining garlic mixture to food processor; puree until smooth. let cool.

garlic puree

2. pat chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. combine 1/4 cup garlic puree, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in small bowl. tuck wings behind back, spread garlic mixture under skin of chicken and rub reserved oil over outside of chicken. tie legs together with kitchen twine. season chicken with salt and pepper and arrange, breast side down, on v-rack set inside roasting pan. roast until just golden, about 35 minutes.

chicken

3. remove chicken from oven and, using wad of paper towels, flip chicken breast side up. raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. whisk broth, wine, 1/2 cup water, and remaining garlic puree in measuring cup. then pour into roasting pan. return chicken to oven and roast until thigh meat registered 170-175 degrees, 30-40 minutes. transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest 20 minutes.

4. meanwhile, transfer pan juices and any accumulated chicken juices to saucepan; skim fat. whisk remaining water and corn starch in small bowl, then add to sauce pan. simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. whisk in butter, then strain into serving bowl. stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper. carve chicken and serve, passing sauce at table.

garlic chicken

comments: the chicken was really delicious. it had a nice crispy skin, the right kind and amount of garlic flavor, and great juiciness. i think it was one of the juiciest, most flavorful chickens i’ve had! i guess all that garlic under the skin helped lock in the moisture. it looked really good too! almost like the picture in the magazine. the sauce was good too. nice and light, didn’t overpower the chicken’s flavors.

in the magazine they talk about how some other methods of getting garlic flavor (like using powdered garlic, garlic butter, straight garlic cloves) either had an overpowering taste or a nonexistant one. they found out roasted garlic was really good, but takes kind of a long time. anyway, this method they found seems to work really well, and not take too long.

they also had a tip for peeling large amounts of garlic: put all the cloves in a zip lock bag and beat with a rolling pin. that worked really well. i think you could just put a big piece of plastic wrap over the garlic and do the same. then you don’t have to waste a zip lock bag. cuz you’re asian like that 😀

oh and i had a really hard time flipping the chicken! mine was maybe 5.5 pounds, and the paper towel thing totally did not work for me. i tried using various spatulas and finally managed to kind of roll it over. next time i gotta find an easier way of doing that. besides that, everything was easy i think.

carnitas

i forget why, but we decided to make carnitas one week so i looked around for a good recipe. the one i found sounded pretty good and had good reviews, especially the one that said, “People have literally told me it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten.” like damn, that is high praise! i would not go that far, but they are definitely tasty!

carnitas tacos

the best ever carnitas
from recipezaar

3 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder
1 orange, quartered
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Pepsi, plus
more Pepsi, as needed
3/4 cup oil or shortening

FUEGO SPICE MIX YIELDS 1 CUP USE 1T (i divided everything by 8, my values in parentheses)
1/4 cup paprika (1/2 T)
2 teaspoons cayenne (1/4 t)
2 tablespoons salt (1/4 t)
2 teaspoons white pepper (1/4 t)
2 tablespoons ground black pepper (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons garlic granules (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons chili powder (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons oregano (1/4 T = 3/4 t)

AGUA NEGRA MARINADE YIELDS 3 1/4 CUPS USE 1 CUP (i should have divided but i didn’t really read carefully…)
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1. Fuego spice mix (recipe# 66927): Combine all ingredients, mixing well.
2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
3. Agua Negra Marinade (recipe# 66927): combine all ingredients with a whisk.
4. Stores in the refrigerator for 2 days.
5. Carnitas: Trim away excess fat from pork and cut into 3 inch cubes.
6. Dust meat with Fuego spice mix and press to adhere well.
7. Squeeze juice from oranges into an airtight nonreactive container, add peels, garlic,pepper, pepsi and Aqua Negra marinade- mix to combine well.
8. Add seasoned meat and refrigerate overnight.
9. Remove meat from the marinade (reserve marinade) the next day when you are ready to cook.
10. Heat oil/shortening in a large heavy skillet over high heat until fat is smoking; add pork and brown completely on all sides- about 15 minutes.
11. Add reserved marinade and simmer for about 2 hours or until pork is tender and dark brown- add additional Pepsi as needed while cooking to keep meat covered.

carnitas cooking

12. Remove meat and chop into 3/4 inch pieces.

pulling the carnitas

comments: these carnitas were a big hit. i think we all liked them a lot. when it was done, i just used a couple forks to pull apart the nice tender meat.the meat was juicy and had a nice flavor that wasn’t overpowering.  like i thought it might be real cumin-y or pepsi-ish, but it wasn’t at all. it was just really tasty meat. we served it with lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa to make tacos, but i would have just eaten the meat by itself. i bet it would be good with rice too. cameron said he liked that the meat didn’t taste fatty at all – i trimmed off most of the big chunks of fat + it was simmering for a nice long time. oh btw there’s really good fresh+cheap salsa at bob’s big boy (but that doesn’t mean i recommend the mexican food there).

as for the recipe, i got a little confused on some parts, but that’s not too surprising because i am pretty terrible at following directions for recipes. i didn’t read very carefully, so i didn’t realize i could have 1/3 of the marinade. i guess we’ll be eating carnitas soon again… then on step 10, that means you add the fat in, right? so i put in the fat (yum, deep fried fat), but then i’m not sure if i was supposed to leave the fat in. i took it out because the pan wasn’t that big. later i had to transfer the carnitas to a bigger pot actually, since i was using a cover too big for the pan so it kept condensing onto the stove. one day when i get my dream le creuset red dutch oven, this’ll be a bit easier.

anyway, it ended up being really yummy though, so maybe i don’t need to leave the fat in? cameron said maybe the fat will take it to new levels of deliciousness. i can’t really imagine that, but maybe there are levels of deliciousness beyond my comprehension.

here’s a carnitas close-up:

carnitas close-up

YUM. so yeah, these carnitas take a while to make, but at least it’s worth it!