Back in the Saddle Again

We're Back In The Saddle Again! | Cowgirl art, Cowboy art, Western art
Photo 1944 by Gil Elvgren (copyright Brown & Bigelow)

After nearly 8 weeks of being in the shop after an unfortunate ottoman accident, I finally have my laptop back almost as good as new. uBreakiFix really did a phenomenal job of finding parts and keeping me informed of all steps. It took a while since they were waiting on parts from various corners of the world, but in the end it was worth it since they saved me from having to buy a new laptop (yes, it was much more cost-effective in the long run to get it repaired vs buying new)!

The first recipe back should be epic right? Something worthy of Great British Baking Show caliber. You’d think. It’s alot of pressure truth be told. Instead, just as I kept trucking and insta-posting, so I’ll just pick up where I am as if no time has passed. Time has passed however. Two months in the dumpster fire that is 2020. I’m so over it. I’m ready to move on. It seems like one out of every three people is on quarantine and the rest of us are picking up the slack. My part-time job has kicked up and all of us are working extra. The money isn’t terrible (#ChristmasIsComing), but it definitely leaves less time for me to cook. It’s only a season. Instead, it’s actually forced me to be more organized. And also realize that I can’t do everything. Sometimes dinner has been a bowl of cereal or a salad-in-a-bag mix. And that’s ok.

This week however, I had another opportunity to carve out time to make a meal for a couple in the church with a new baby added to their family. No matter how busy we get, we can still make time to be a blessing in our community. To me, there’s scarcely anything homier and more soul-nourishing than a homecooked meal of roast chicken and veg. I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy a roast chicken. There’s a reason grocery store delis still offer seasoned, roasted chickens in their hot cases daily. Unless you burn it, or get really close by seriously overcooking it, you can’t really go wrong with a whole roast chicken.

I love dark meat on a roast chicken, but my absolute favorite thing is a crispy-sticky skin. Judge all you want, but I don’t see any reason why you should remove such a delicious part of your meal! I generally disregard it when a recipe asks me to remove the skin. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I’m kidding! Kinda. This recipe from Good Housekeeping for Mahogany Roast Chicken really floated my boat in this department! Ordinarily an Asian-influenced dish, this roast is quite far removed from any Oriental origins. This doesn’t diminish it’s value however. Au contraire, it actually gives you a dish that can be enjoyed outside of any certain cuisine type. It would pair well with many sides and lends itself to any season of the year.

Initially I thought that the balsamic vinegar would be too assertive for chicken. I remember once I was making hassenpfeffer, I was short on apple cider vinegar and I substituted the remainder with balsamic. It was not a good substitute. The balsamic overpowered the lovely ACV unfortunately. I quite nearly swapped the balsamic in this recipe with ACV, but I’m honestly glad I didn’t. The balsamic somehow was tempered by the brown sugar well. This recipe also calls for dry vermouth. Dry vermouth is a dry (meaning not sweet) fortified wine with floral notes, but it won’t make your chicken taste like flowers! If you’d prefer not to use vermouth, you can use white grape juice instead. It’s only 2tbsp after all and certainly doesn’t merit spending money on an entire bottle of vermouth for one recipe if you’re not going to be using the rest anytime soon since the smallest bottle you can find is 375ml.

I chose to serve ours with another round of those delicious caramelized brussels sprouts I recently posted about on Instagram. They’re wicked simple. All you do is slice off the bottoms and core them a little so the leaves gently separate while sauteéing with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I even dragged them through the jus that was drizzled over top the chicken. And that brings me to another thing. The jus. The recipe calls for water to fortify the pan juices, but if you know anything about my style by now… You’ll of course know that I used chicken base in place of water. It’s just adds to and supports that deep-roasted flavor. You could also mix a slurry of water and cornstarch into the jus to make a beautiful mahogany gravy! The final result was a delicious roast chicken that we found difficult to separate ourselves from…

What are some of your favorite roast chicken flavors?

Currently Reading: Quest for the Best by Stanley Marcus

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