Friday, January 14, 2011

Roast chicken with cumin, honey, and orange juice

More simple food, this is one of Mark Bittman's variations on his Simplest Whole Roast Chicken. Serve (as I did) with tortillas, avocado, and refried beans. Or it would marry beautifully with couscous...maybe with dates? It really cooks swiftly (my chicken took 45 minutes) so keep an eye out toward the end. My attempt ended up more blackened than browned. The flavor is fabulous, and the chicken turns out moist, tender, and perfectly cooked. Best of all, it's very easy.

Afterwards, take the chicken carcass and put it in a pot with 6 cups of water, one medium onion (peeled and quartered), two stalks celery (cut into sticks), and two carrots (cut into sticks). Bring to a boil, then simmer for two hours. Strain out the solids and you have a fantastic homemade chicken stock. I'm planning to use it as a base for tortilla soup.

Roast chicken with cumin, honey, and orange juice
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 450°F. Five minutes after turning on the oven, put a cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet on a rack set low in the oven. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

When both oven and pan are hot, 10 or 15 minutes later, carefully put the chicken, breast side up, in the hot skillet. Roast, undisturbed, for 20 to 30 minutes.

If at any point during the cooking the pan juices begin to smoke, just add a little water or wine (white or red, your choice) to the pan. This will reduce browning, however, so don't do it unless you must.

Mix orange juice, garlic, cumin, and honey together. Spoon or brush the mixture over the chicken. Roast, undisturbed, for another 20 to 30 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh registers 155–165°F.

Tip the pan to let the juices from the bird's cavity flow into the pan (if they are red, cook for another 5 minutes). Transfer the bird to a platter and let it rest.

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