Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Roasted Whole Chicken With Rosemary, Oranges, Garlic And Vegetables

How could this have happened? You're a food blogger. You prepare food all the time and post it to your blog. You own a cute little camera that never leaves your side, with which you photograph your creations, ad nauseum, pasting them along side the food that you've so lovingly prepared for your blog, er, um, family.
So, how could this have happened? Yesterday you took a whole chicken out of the freezer with the intention of sticking a beer can up its thawed cavity and grilling it al la the recipe your niece recently sent you. The day goes on, it gets late, then it gets cold outside. Does the Master Griller really want to stand out in the cold to grill a chicken with a beer can up its ass? Thought not.
Quickly you go to Plan B, which is forming in bits and bites as you rush around the kitchen. You crank the oven up to 400, rub the chicken inside and out with olive oil, sprinkle it with kosher salt and freshly minced rosemary. You go to the fridge for a lemon. No lemon. Ah! There's an orange. Use that. You cut the orange into eighths, squeezing juice over the bird and tossing the spent pieces into its cavity, muttering "God, will this really work?"
No time to think about it now as you shove in two large rosemary sprigs. You take a head of garlic, separate the cloves leaving the skins intact, and throw a handful inside the chicken, scattering the rest in the roasting pan in which the chicken is resting.
Looking in the fridge's veggie bins, you take out some potatoes that your neighbor recently dug from her garden, some carrots, some parsnips (euwww! Mushy. Into the compost bucket), and a beautiful fennel bulb (good save!). You cut those veggies into chunks and scatter them around the chicken, dropping another handful of unpeeled garlic cloves hither and thither. You chop more rosemary, sprinkle it over the veggies then you drizzle just a bit more olive oil over everything along with a few more squeezes of orange juice, dropping the spent wedges into the pan.
Standing back to view your work, you sprinkle a bit more kosher salt plus generous grindings of the peppercorn medley that your friend Erika turned you on to, all over everything. Then, oh, yeah, truss the bird! Then you pour 1/2 cup or so of white wine over it all, cover the pan with foil and stick it in the oven, immediately lowering the temperature to 350. Whew! You pour yourself a glass of the white wine and breath deeply, thinking that you might catch a bit of tonight's episode of Iron Chef America. You feel a bit Iron Chef-like yourself.
The phone rings. Happily, it's one of your sons calling. You talk for about 45 minutes. You ache to check the oven but are loathe to cut into this precious mother-son conversation, so you don't. Conversation finished, finally you are able to remove the foil from the roasting pan; a very white chicken looks up at you. Thinking fast, you pour about 2/3 cup of good chicken stock over the bird and around the veggies, loosening them from the pan and, leaving the foil off, shove the whole thing back into the oven, this time at 375, for another 25 minutes, catching the last 5 minutes of Iron Chef America. At least you got to see that the newby ousted Bobby Flay.
You peek into the oven again and see that everything is done to perfection: the bird is golden brown, crisp on the outside, juicy and steaming with flavor; the veggies tenderly roasted in a broth redolent of orange, rosemary and garlic; the deeply caramelized garlic cloves fairly bursting from their skins.
Dinner is served and your family swoons in delight with each bite. You bask in their praise, internally shaking your head in disbelief that you pulled this off.
The next morning, still rosey with the afterglow of your culinary prowess, you turn on your computer and begin to write to your blog. A nagging feeling starts to creep down your neck and lodge itself between your shoulder blades. No photos. You: proud cook, food blogger, and food photographer, you did not take ONE DAMNED PHOTO!
So there you sit, finger poised above the "Publish Post" button.
Do you dare...........?


  1. That's funny, Christine. I have also had this happen to me. It is more likely when I want to photograph something at a restaurant, and I just devour the food with the camera sitting right next to me on the table. Sounds like a very tasty chicken, just the same. I also like your pork chops. I like cooking with port, but have not used it with pork for some reason.

  2. Very funny. I've only done this once, but I was so mad!

  3. Even though there is no picture, I see one clearly in my head! I can only imagine a beautiful looking bird! Happy cooking........

  4. You guys are great! Thanks for all your comments. I had the squiggly-mouth-of-chagrin "Cathy" face on as I wrote this. It was fun.

  5. Ha! It's karma, coming back to haunt you for your lack of intrepidness at trying my recipe! Now get out there and GRILL. Your dissed niece.

  6. Dear Dissed Niece,
    Intrepidlessness not withstanding, it's raining. Beer can chicken will have to wait another day. :)
    Your Auntie

  7. Thanks for your comment on Tea & Cookies, Christine. I loved hearing about your memories of San Francisco. I grew up in West Marin, so I remember similar trips to "the city," but I was too young for Playland when it was there. Too bad.

    I'm glad to have discovered your blog and will be back--those photos of the autumn colors in New Hampshire are beautiful! (not to mention, you live in a beautiful place yourself).

  8. Thanks so much for visiting, Tea. I love reading your blog.

  9. Christine,
    FOR REAL! I have never cooked a whole chicken by myself...my boyfriend showed me once. I had two expensive free range chickens in the freezer and took one out last night to thaw. GREAT! Now this morning I had to figure out what to do with it!! I googled how to cook a whole chicken and up came your post. Since I had not planned ahead (yikes) I opened the fridge and followed your guidance...substituted grapefruit for the orange and butternut squash and apples for the veggies. Luckily I have rosemary growing outside the door and a few cloves of garlic. To the rescue... I had just bought a Simply Organic citrus a'peel herb blend that I used liberally with the olive oil. It smelled great and is in the oven now. When I came back to check your guidance to make sure I had it right, I could not resist telling you how thankful I am for your post...picture or not! Oh yeah! I did have to google truss...and had to skip that part...

  10. Hello Georgia,
    I am so glad you found my recipe to be helpful. I'm sure your version was delicious.
    Here's another post, this time with a photo, that you might like. Just copy and paste the address into your address bar.
    Thanks again for your kind comments.


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