DINNER 197: Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wendy & I had an evening free, so we spent the morning running some errands (we had to stop at Wendy’s hospital to take care of Jake, a dog suffering from a spider bite, then to Jungle Jim’s for groceries, then lunch at the Red Squirrel for lunch, then home!). I prepared a dinner of broccoli soup; tomato, basil and motzarella salad with balsamic reduction; roasted chicken; fingerling potatos; and green beans. The broccoli soup was really good and very simple. The roasted chicken is one of my favorite methods. Recipes for both are below.

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                    Broccoli Soup — Gordon Ramsay

Chef Gordon Ramsay shares his recipe for broccoli soup — intensly flavorful with only THREE ingredients!

Recipe By: Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: English
Main Ingredient: Broccoli
Categories: Easy, Soup

-= Ingredients =-
to taste Water
to taste Salt
2 heads Broccoli ; very fresh
to taste Olive oil ; optional, for garnish

-= Instructions =-
Cut the florets off the heads of broccoli. Cut the stems into similarly sized pieces. Add all of the broccoli — florets and stems — into a pot of rapidly-boiling, salted water. Cover. Cook 3.5 to 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, put the cooked broccoli pieces into a blender. Fill blender about halfway with cooking liquid. Blend carefully since it’s hot.  Add more cooking liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Check seasonings.

Serve, drizzled with olive oil if desired.


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Roast Chicken (Mon Poulet Roti) — Bouchon

Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry and Bouchon restaurants, shares his simple and satisfying roast chicken recipe.

Recipe By: BOUCHON cookbook, page xii
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: American
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Categories: Easy, Poultry, Main Dish

-= Ingredients =-
1 ea Chicken ; 2-3 pounds, farm-raised
to taste Kosher Salt
to taste Black pepper ; freshly ground
2 teaspoons Thyme ; fresh, minced
to taste Unsalted butter ; optional
to taste Dijon mustard ; optional

-= Instructions =-
Preheat the oven to 450. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken — I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a saute pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160-165 degrees, about 50-60 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take of the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip — until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.

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