The Bird is the Word

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It all started this past November a few days before Thanksgiving. First of all, if you don’t already know this, you should; Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love, love, love it. I love all of the cooking/baking/love that goes into it. This year I was able to host my very first Thanksgiving, and even though I’m pretty sure I drove my husband crazy, I loved it. But I was spending so much time focusing on which side dishes to prepare (See: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Roasted Mushrooms, and Buttermilk Biscuits ) that I really kind of forgot the turkey. I know, I know, that’s crazy talk.

So a few day before Thanksgiving, I started looking at different recipes for roasting a turkey. That’s when I came across various claims that spatchcocking a turkey is the fastest and greatest way to roast a turkey. So let’s back up, today’s word of the day is spatchcock. This is a cooking technique for poultry where the back bone is removed, the bird is pressed flat, and then cooked. Basically it’s a fancy word for butterflying a whole bird.

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Let me just say, this blew my mind. I had never heard of it before and I was kind of fascinated by a technique that claimed to cut cooking down significantly and produce a juicy turkey with a crispy outside. But this was days before Thanksgiving, and I was not brave/crazy enough to experiment with this technique for the very first time on Thanksgiving.

Now let’s fast forward to a few weeks ago. My time had come, and I was ready to try this whole spatchcocking thing for myself. I bought a 4 lb chicken, brined it, and gave it a try. OH MY GOODNESS. It was magnificent! It was delicious! It was more than I dreamed it would be. Thankfully my husband called to say he would be working late that night because I almost ate the whole chicken myself. I have no regrets.

So without further ado, I give you my recipe for a fool-proof roasted chicken. Be brave! This yields awesome results and I will most certainly be doing this the next time I host Thanksgiving.

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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Step 1: Brine the bird

You can use any brine you like. I halved this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I like this one in particular because it gives the bird sweet and savory flavors. I swear by brining whole birds before roasting, you’ll never have a dry roasted bird again! I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes.

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Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel.

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Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely.

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Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

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Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside.

Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

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Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

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Just look at that beauty.

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How you doin?

Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of Freinds reruns lately. I regret nothing.

The wings and thighs are my favorite, and I love using the juicy meat from the breasts in sandwiches and soups. After carving the chicken, save those bones! Later this week I will share with you my absolute favorite recipe for brown chicken stock.

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Enjoy and let me know how your chicken turns out.

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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Brine the bird. You can use any brine you like. I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes. Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely. Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside. Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

Cranberry Relish

 

 

 

Today’s recipe is a family tradition; every year at Thanksgiving we make this cranberry relish that my Dad had every Thanksgiving when he was growing up. This recipe is fresh tasting and best when made a day or two before Thanksgiving to really allow the flavors to mingle.

 

 

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Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh cranberries, washed and drained
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ c toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 c organic sugar

Directions:

Wash the orange and lemon and cut up into small chunks (peel and all) and remove seeds. Pat dry the crushed pineapple with paper towels to remove any excess juice.  Put cranberries, orange and lemon pieces, pineapple, and nuts (if using them) into food processor. Pulse for 10-15 seconds and stop to scrape the sides. Continue to pulse and scraping the sides until all ingredients are chopped finely. Be careful not to over-process or the texture will be too mushy, the relish should maintain a course texture.

Pour the relish into a medium sized mixing bowl and using a spoon stir in the sugar a ½ cup at a time. Since cranberries can vary in tartness, taste the relish after adding the first ½ cup of sugar to determine if the other half is needed. Continue to add sugar until desired sweetness is achieved. Chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

Pumpkin Frankenstein Muffins

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*Article originally posted on www.Somverville.Patch.com*

A monster mash of delicious fall flavors!

These muffins certainly don’t look like Frankenstein, but this month when I sought out to create the ultimate pumpkin muffin recipe, I decided to borrow bits and pieces from other muffin recipes I had tried in the past.

First, let me explain my ideal muffin. To me the most important qualities in a muffin are a fantastic flavor and a texture that isn’t too heavy and is in no way dry. I’m also looking for a muffin that doesn’t make me feel guilty, but isn’t so healthy that I feel like I’m eating saw dust.

I started by looking at three different muffin recipes. The first was your typical, straight-up unhealthy but still delicious pumpkin muffin, the next was a stripped-down recipe that included whole wheat flour and a ton of pumpkin, and the third was a Morning Glory muffin.

Morning Glory muffins vary a lot but generally they tend to be a healthy breakfast muffin, often containing fruit, veggies, seeds and/or nuts. Between the three different approaches to making muffins, I had a lot to work with. I also had the idea to incorporate Greek yogurt so that the muffins had a tiny bit of protein in them.

After a few failed attempts and some mediocre results, I finally created a recipe that was yielding the kind of muffin I was dreaming of. I settled on using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I wanted whole wheat flour in there so the muffin would have some fiber, but not so much that the flavor was overpowering.

I also decided that sifting the dry ingredients together and then gently folding them into the wet ingredients was imperative to yield the right kind of texture that wasn’t too heavy. The sifting and the gentle folding technique helps keep the overall texture of the muffins lighter.

I also experimented with adding applesauce and carrots in the batter. The applesauce ended up overpowering the pumpkin flavor and in the end had to be cut from the recipe. The carrots added no flavor and seemed like a sneaky way to get some extra veggies in.

A quick note on the pumpkin puree: This time of year it is easy to find a can of already cooked and pureed pumpkin and works very well for this recipe. If you are feeling a little more hands-on, pumpkin puree can also be easily made at home.

To do this you’ll need 1-2 small baking pumpkins (not the same as the ones you would use for making jack-o-lanterns). Using a sharp knife, remove the stem and slice the pumpkin in half length-wise. Scrape out the center pulp and seeds.

Next, place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The pumpkin will be a light golden brown when done. Peel the skin from the pumpkin and puree the pumpkin in a food processer until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to add moisture.

 

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Pumpkin Frankenstein Muffins
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 c plain greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
1 c brown sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 grated carrots
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl sift together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl use a whisk to beat the eggs until frothy and light in color. Next whisk in the yogurt until well combined followed by the brown sugar, whisking in ½ a cup at a time. Finally whisk in the pumpkin puree and grated carrots.

Now it is time to combine the dry and wet ingredients. Begin by adding a third of the dry ingredients to the wet. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together until well combined. Once the mixture is homogenous, continue to fold in the remainder of the dry ingredients in a third at a time.

Finally using a 1/3 c measuring cup, scoop the batter into a lined muffin pan. This recipe yields 18-20 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When the muffins are finished a tooth pick inserted into the center will come out clean.