Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Roast chicken with artichokes and carmelized lemon

"Roast" Chicken With Artichokes & Caramelized Lemon

Serves 4-6

French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth gives chicken a one-two punch by first browning it in a skillet, then steam-roasting it over broth and vegetables to keep it moist. Hollingsworth says the chicken's short brining time is enough to impart flavor but still retain texture.

2 leeks, white part only, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup salt
1 bay leaf
-- Juice of 1 lemon
5 peppercorns
5 sprigs thyme
5 sprigs parsley
4- to 4 1/2-pound chicken, cleaned and trussed
4 medium globe artichokes, trimmed down to their hearts, quartered and cleaned of their inner furry chokes, stems left on and peeled; reserve in water with a squeeze of lemon juice
6 fingerling potatoes
-- Kosher salt as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
1 head of garlic, papery skin removed, head halved crosswise
1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths
1 lemon, halved
6 baby fennel bulbs (about 1- by 3-inches) trimmed of stalks or 1 large bulb cut into small wedges
5 baby carrots, peeled
3 thyme sprigs
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock reduced to 1 cup
-- Juice from 1 lemon wedge
Instructions: In a large bowl, combine leeks, salt, bay leaf, juice from 1 lemon, peppercorns, thyme and parsley with 1 gallon of cool water. Stir until salt is dissolved. Let brine steep for 30 minutes, then submerge chicken in the brine for no more than 12 minutes. Remove and pat dry.

Briefly cook artichoke hearts in boiling, salted water until a knife pierces artichokes with resistance, about 3 minutes; they should still be quite firm. Drain and cool with a dunk in cold water. Place potatoes in a small sauce pan, add water to cover and salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat once it boils; drain the potatoes and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt, place in the pan and brown well on all sides. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the bacon to the same skillet, and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pour the bacon fat along with any browned bits that are in the skillet into a large, heavy Dutch oven or stockpot (about 8 quart size). Place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the garlic halves, cut sides down, and cook to a light brown; remove and set aside. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring to color all surfaces; remove and set aside. Add the lemon halves, cut side down, and cook until browned.

Return the potatoes, artichokes, bacon, garlic, onion, fennel, carrots and thyme to the pot, making sure that the cut sides of the lemon halves remain in contact with the bottom of the pot. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover with the lid and bake - rotating the pot once - until a thermometer reads 165° when inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside so the meat can rest for at least 10-15 minutes before carving. Remove and set aside the garlic and lemon.

Spoon off any excess fat from the juices and vegetables in the pot. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat, pour in the 1 cup reduced chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves, the juice from the roasted lemon and juice from a fresh lemon wedge into the pan; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Arrange the vegetables on a platter with the carved chicken meat. Add any juices from the chicken back into the pot, stir, then spoon the pan sauce over the chicken.

Per serving: 523 calories, 38 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat (8 g saturated), 93 mg cholesterol, 441 mg sodium, 6 g fiber. The nutrients absorbed from brines vary and are difficult to estimate - variables include the type of food, brining time and surface area. Therefore, the brine is not included in this analysis.

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