It's Rough Being an Alaskan

It's Rough Being an Alaskan
King Crab stock with Kaffir Lime & Coriander for Thai Bisque

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It's a Chicken Thing

Thai chicken curry, Tuscan chicken, Filipino chicken adobo- you get the gist! We prepare a plethora of chicken at the Kitchen, it's cost effective, quick to cook and everyone likes it (generally). This coming week we are going through 200 pounds of the famed poultry in about four days. Our prep cooks will probably momentarily dislike me and shoot evil glares my way as they trim fat, makes gazillions of satays and grill the beastly bird for hours on end! We have several conferences, receptions and parties featuring the American protein in some form or matter. Do we ever get tired of it? I tend to. Hence, I'll take a "chicken vacation"and then before I know it am wondering "what's for dinner?"

About 7 p.m. on a cold rainy Wednesday night last week, I'm puttering around the Kitchen, dragging ass a bit, and finishing a few projects for the following days events, when I suddenly realize I'm Super Hungry. Not just for a bowl of soup or a sandwich, but something soul satisfying. I wrench open the meat side of our three-door silver fridge and behold...there are two whole chickens sitting there in their unassuming packages.There is nothing so quick and easy as roasted chicken (if you have about 2 hours of waiting time that is!). My favorite way to roast them is rub 'em down with olive oil and then sprinkle with fresh garlic, chopped fresh thyme, sage, rosemary, coarse salt, pepper and finish with paprika and the juice of a fresh lemon. You can't beat the taste of fresh products. At most grocery stores they carry a great product called "The Herbed Bird." It's a bag of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage sprigs. And, seriously it lasts a long time and is about five bucks. So try it, the results are worth it!

Why roast just one chicken? Save the second for soup,
a casserole or chicken salad sandwiches!
My trick on getting to the Supreme Chicken Being is I add 1/4 cup white wine or water in bottom of pan. The liquid creates a little steam and makes it own pan juices while baking. I roast on the convection setting at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then reduce to 325 until it's 163-165 degrees in the the fatty part of the breast or the thigh, about another 40-60 minutes depending on your oven. Another way to tell the chicken is done is if the juices run clear when pricked and the leg easily jiggles. Also make an effort to turn the roasting pan every 30 minutes for overall even cooking. The most important part is waiting at least 10 minutes once you remove the chicken from it's hot chamber, so the meat relaxes and the juices can redistribute throughout the carcass.

I served the chicken that night with a lemony arugula salad and a quick saute of vegetables including asparagus, zuchinini, tomatoes and basil. I sat on our wooden black Kitchen stools, the white commercial lights blaring down at us amidst shining stainless steel counters and humming refrigerators. Yet, when taking  a bite of the juicy, tender chicken and sopping it in fragrant herb-infused pan drippings--all I could think of was HOME, my blue flannel pajamas and our soft fluffy couch. There really is nothing as satisfactory as roast chicken. So hale to the Bird, and don't ever estimate the power of chicken!

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