Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Casserole Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Watercress Salad Recipe

I came across this comedy-drama film Julie & Julia while scouring the world wide web sometimes ago and it did pique my interest to find out more about the film. Written and directed by Nora Ephron, the film depicts events in the life of chef Julia Child in the early years in her culinary career, contrasting her life with Julie Powell, a frustrated secretary, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes from Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking during a single year, 2002. Powell then blogs her daily experiences and gaining a loyal following along the way. Though separated by time and space, both women are at loose ends until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Meryl Streep has received many positive review for her performance as Julia Child in the film. At her beguiling best, Meryl Streep is playing our idea of Julia Child more elusively and more truthfully. If you are Julia Child's fan but yet to watch the movie, you can preview this Julie and Julia movie trailer provided by Columbia Pictures below.

On another occasion, chef John from demonstrated Julia Child's casserole roasted chicken in remembrance of Julia Child, a world renowned American chef, author and television personality who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream through her many cookbooks and television programs. Check it out!

"You? wanna be haunted by Julia Child? I don't think so." This really got a good chuckle out of me.

This recipe is from Julia Child's cookbook, Cooking with Master Chefs, from the chapter with Jeremiah Tower, an author of New American Classics, teacher at the California Culinary Academy and prestigious James Beard Award-winner who emphasizes the use of locally grown ingredients to elevate simple dishes to fine delicacies. The recipe goes like this. Bon appetit!

Ingredients :

For the Chicken :
A 5 pound roaster chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Olive oil (as needed)
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme (optional)

6 cloves garlic, crushed, unpeeled
1 onion, sliced

For the Salad :
2 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 bunch watercress

Special Equipment Suggested :
A covered casserole or roaster just large enough to hold the chicken comfortably
A bulb baster
A pastry brush
An oven-proof serving platter

Timing :
Total 2 hours. 1 hour for covered roasting, 1/2 hour for browning, and a 30-minute rest before carving.

Preparing the Chicken :

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place all ingredients and equipment beside your main work area on a large tray or newspapers, and plan to dispose of and/or wash everything (including your hands) thoroughly with soap and hot water when you are through.

Remove the packet of giblets in the cavity, and reserve for something else. Remove any visible clumps of fat from inside the cavity, wash and dry them in paper towels, and set aside. Wash the chicken both inside and out under cold running water; dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Salt and pepper the cavity lightly, pour in a spoonful of olive oil, and stuff in a handful of garlic, thyme and rosemary. Squeeze in the juice of a lemon, and add the lemon halves. Truss the chicken, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set it breast up in the casserole. Flatten the reserved pieces of chicken fat with your fist and lay them over the breast. Smash the rest of the garlic cloves with the flat of your big knife and lay them also over the chicken along with the remaining rosemary and thyme. Squeeze on the rest of the lemons, tossing the squeezed halves into the casserole.

The chicken is now ready for the oven, and may be prepared to this point two hours ahead.

Roasting the Chicken - 1 1/2 hours:

Set the covered casserole in the lower third of the pre-heated oven. Basting is really not necessary, but a quick peek now and then is useful just to see how things are going. You may also desire a quick basting with the accumulated juices, using a bulb baster.

After an hour, remove the cover and turn the thermostat up to 400 F. Continue roasting and letting the chicken brown.

When is it done? The thighs will be fairly tender when pressed; the drumsticks will move up and down in their sockets fairly well. When the bird is lifted, the last juices to fall from the vent end will be clear yellow with no trace of rose.

Remove the chicken to the serving platter, cut off the trussing strings, and return the chicken to the turned-off oven, leaving the door ajar.

Preparing the sauce and serving the roasted chicken and salad :

Drain the juices from the casserole through a sieve. Using a ladle, push the garlic to extract juice from it as well. Skim the fat off the surface in the remaining juices of the strained liquid. Whisk in the walnut oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the watercress into the sauce to coat well. Place the seasoned watercress around the chicken and drizzle with any remaining sauce.

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