Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poulet Roti a la Normande (Roast Chicken w/Cream, Herb and Giblet Stuffing)

This week didn't go quite as planned, see the chicken dinner was supposed to be Thursday night but it got pushed back to Friday because I was just too tired! Well then Friday the hubby decided to spend 18 hours fishing and didn't make it home Friday night until 10 PM and there was no way I was going to start cooking the bird then. And I had decided earlier that day that I didn't want to cook it to be ready at 6 PM and him not be home to eat it, then have to re-heat it for him the next day. So Saturday it was!

But I did go ahead, since I was home alone after the lil monster was put to bed and the baby was sleeping in the swing, and made the sides that were to be served with it. (Okay so I don't have this whole 1st, 2nd, and 3rd course thing down yet)

Haricots Verts a l'Anglaise (Buttered Green Beans): These were super simple really and not much different than the way I usually make them. I blanched them 'til they were perfect and then buttered them. Tossed them all into a covered dish and they were ready for tomorrow's dinner. The hubby isn't a fan of crunchy green beans so this worked out well since they had a chance to get more mushy during reheating.

Gratin Dauphinois (Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a pinch of Garlic): Basic scalloped potatoes, the processor made light work of slicing the potatoes for me, I couldn't imagine trying to slice potatoes exactly 1/8th of an inch thick. I did take a knife class but I'm not THAT good yet. I layered and then poured the milk over eveything and put it in the oven 'til it was bubbling and browned on the top. It looked great and tasted pretty good. I do think it was a pretty simple recipe and not nearly as creamy as my "gourmet scalloped potatoes" recipe. Granted I used Swiss cheese as instructed for this and in my recipe I use Gruyere (which technically is a type of Swiss, specifically a French Swiss) so I could have used it in this as well but I was trying to pinch some pennies.

Saturday afternoon I started the chicken. I began by chopping up the gizzard and heart, I didn't have any livers so I added extra hearts or gizzards 'cause I don't know which was which. I also didn't know how to peel it so I just chopped, then sauted them. They looked good, guess I should have tasted them 'cause I would have realized they were very chewy, like calimari. Not sure if this was the desired outcome. I mixed the stuffing which looked good and stuffed it into the bird. After that cooking the chicken started out rough, somehow I ended up with a gimpy chicken with one leg that the ankle was broken off so trussing was a nightmare. Since I didn't have a trussing needle I tried to truss the old fashioned way. Something I have honestly never done. I have roasted chickens and turkeys plenty of time before but never trussed them. I usually just through them in the pan on the rack and twist the wings back and go. So trussing was not fun but I persevered. I slathered that baby up with butter and threw it in the oven. 10 minutes later I attempted to turn it on it's side. HA HA HA, yeah right, how is that really acomplished without taking it out of the oven. I think I spent 15 minutes trying to get that bird on it's side. It just wanted to slide around in the pan. Finally I got it, threw it back in the oven for 5 minutes. 5 minutes later I was trying again to flip the bird, hehe. But to no avail that sucker would not flip. (this was the gimpy side) so I gave up and decided it'd just have to roast breast side up. It was either this or a good chance the bird would end up on the floor with me trying to use oven mitts to make it flip. Roasting and basting went pretty quickly, about 20 minutes 'til complete I started basting with the cream. The chicken looked great!

By this time the onions and carrots (I think I was still supposed to do this step) in the pan were black and the pan I had to use couldn't be used on the stovetop so I put my bird on the serving platter and scraped the drippings into a saucepan. Quickly made the gravy, decided to strain the carrots and onions out of it since I wasn't sure what to do with them and I didn't think they were supposed to stay in the gravy.

All of the dishes were done and I opened up a bottle of wine to serve with it. Something the grocery store guy said would go with it since they were limited on their French wines and didn't have a white Burgandy or Graves. It seemed to go well, at least to my simple tastes. The chicken was juicy and moist, not extremely flavorful but the gravy more than made up for that. The stuffing was good, not something I'd make again though the hubby loved it. Something about the chewy texture of the gizzards bothered me. And then I was overwhelmed by the cream cheese. If I do make it again I think I'd make my own version and use more breadcrumbs and maybe sausage instead or just leave the gizzards out completely, using only their drippings. Overall it was a pretty good meal, nothing spectacular just a good homecooked meal. Something usually reserved for Sunday dinners I would say.

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