Monday, November 3, 2008

i love early thanksgiving.

chicken roasted in a cast-iron skillet over whole carrots and halved fingerling potatoes (stuffed with sage, rosemary, thyme, a quarter-lemon and a quarter-onion)

led to cornbread stuffing (out of a package, dressed up with lots of chopped butter-sauteed celery and onions)

led to slow-cooked green beans (jake's mamaw's, cooked in a huge pot with onions and pork fatback and sugar and apple cider vinegar)

led to classic mashed potatoes (maybe my best ever, made with hot milk and just a couple tablespoons of butter and not even any salt after salting the water)

led to roast-chicken gravy (the magic of the iron skillet: pull it out of the oven, take out the chicken and vegetables, start gravying over the stove! was lazy and didn't skim the fat off, just whisked with some flour over the heat then added some stock. it had tiny lumps but was still tasty.)

and then we all sat down to a lovely pre-thanksgiving-ish meal. by the way, the handful of halved fingerling potatoes sitting in the skillet under the chicken? golden and amazing, tender yet fried in chicken fat. and the chicken itself was golden too, flavorful with a crisp skin on top. i got so full on all our food.

and then jake and i set up a stock with the chicken bones and vegetable trimmings and pork fat-back and some bay leaves. which jake then strained and chilled, which i then reheated and reduced, which is now flavorful and delicious. now it goes back into the fridge, for further soup-making or for freezing in handy portions.

also: i pulled off the fat chunks near the tail of the chicken, rendered them down into liquid chicken fat, saved the fat in a cup, browned large pieces of onion in the fat left on the pan, chopped up the bag of liver and gizzards and added those in, salted and peppered the whole thing, buttered some rye bread, and made a liver and onion sandwich. this while-cooking snack is one of the best parts of roasting a chicken.

i will post real recipes/methods soon, because knowing how to roast a chicken turns out to be very useful, as nigella lawson says. i owe all credit on chicken-roasting knowledge to melissa though.

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