Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fowl cookery

This might be some kind of blasphemy, but I don't really like turkey unless it's been deep fried whole. I have to admit though, at a friend's cabin this past Thanksgiving--- it's mid-October on a Monday in Canada, as opposed to the upcoming last Thursday of November down south---, we tried leftovers from a gobbler that he'd roasted on a charcoal barbecue that was succulent, flavourful, smoky and so tender as to almost not need chewing. It was scrumptious, but the rest of my family is vegetarian and I have no interest in standing over a hibachi for five hours slowly tempering the flames to avoid blackening the bird. So, for those of us with smaller appetites, here's a recipe for roasted fowl (chicken, quail, cornish hen or pheasant will all do just fine.)

Herb encrusted Roast Bird(s) with autumn vegetables
All measurements are for a whole roaster chicken, adjust accordingly. You'll also need twine or skewers.

For the rub

3 sprigs rosemary, stemmed and finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander seeds, cracked (put them under a tea towel and smash them with something blunt)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1tbsp olive oil

For the veggies

2C pearl onions, peeled and halved
2 bunches baby carrots, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
2C new red potatoes, quartered
1tbsp olive oil

Take your bird out of the fridge and let it sit on a plate to adjust to room temperature. Put a bowl of soapy water in your sink for later. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a roasting pan, coat your vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper generously and toss everything together. Mix all of the herbs and spices for the rub in a bowl and set aside. Pour the olive oil directly onto your bird, or into your palms, and rub thoroughly on the skin and underneath directly onto the flesh of the bird. In the soapy water, wash and dry your hands.

Salt and Pepper the bird. Now rub all of the spice mixture into the bird until it is completely coated above and beneath the skin. Tie the bird's legs tightly together and skewer its wings into the body, or alternatively, twine the whole bird. (I try and avoid doing this because the twine tends to tears the crispy skin after its removed, and make the bird look like it's been cooked in a waffle iron.) Now place your bird into a well of vegetables in the middle of the roasting pan and put it in the oven for 20 to 75 minutes, depending on the size and variety of fowl you've used. Some indicators: it should be golden brown and crunchy on the outside. You can take the bird out after twenty minutes to stir the veggies and check the temperature with a thermometer to gauge your its progress.

Also, here's a link to cooking time chart

Enjoy your fowl and be thankful for all the good eating, it's always a privilege.

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