Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

March 20, 2014

A healthy roast bird to help welcome spring

Our spring feasts — often centered around Passover and Easter — typically call for a center-of-the-plate star like brisket or lamb.

Of course they’re delicious, but both can seriously ramp up the fat and calories in a meal that tends to put the groan into groaning board even before the main course is served.

So how about roasted chicken instead? Wait a minute, you say. If you eat the bird with its skin on, you might as well be eating lamb. And yet there’s no way to cook a chicken properly without the skin.

Looks like a problem, but here’s a solution: roast the chicken with the skin on, then remove the skin after the chicken is cooked.

And, if you roast the chicken my no-fuss way, you’ll find yourself with ample time to devote to the rest of the meal.

I learned the best way to roast a chicken during my restaurant days.

Every evening just before service began, the whole staff would sit down for “family meal.”

If chicken was on the menu, we’d simply throw several 3 1/2-pounders into the oven — which was always cranked to 500F — and blast away.

Given that we were cooking only for ourselves, there was nothing fancy about how we prepped those birds.

Everything we’d learned in cooking school about the need to truss, turn and baste a roasting chicken turned out to be unnecessary.

All we did was sprinkle them with salt and pepper, rub them with a little oil, and roast them at high heat.

Forty minutes later they were done.

We let them rest for 15 minutes, then carved them and moistened the pieces with the juices that had pooled on the platter.

It was almost too simple — and it certainly was not traditional — but the result was delicious.

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