Saturday, November 14, 2009

Farmer's Feast :: Apple & Beer Roasted Chicken w/sides

It's such a dreary day here in NYC:  grey, chilly, and rainy.  Oh...I'm not complaining... I actually love days like today, lazy Saturdays!  It made me remember that I had yet to post a delicious meal we had a couple of Sundays ago when the weather was very much like today.  Just one of those days when you don't want to leave the house.  So we stayed in.  

 The menu:
- Apple & Beer Baked Whole Chicken
- Roasted Asparagus
- Parmessean Polenta Bites
- Roasted Butternut Squash Puree

It reminded me of a rustic farmhouse meal... nothing too fussy.  Just simple, roasted food.  

I was feeling so lazy, I didn't tie the chicken, I simply used a skewer to hold the drumsticks together.  It actually worked very well!  The chicken is delicious with the sweetness of the apples and the bitterness of the beer.  And the roasted squash is so sweet from the oven roasting it tastes almost like sweet potatoes.  It all went perfectly with the crispy oven roasted polenta with Parmesan, and simple asparagus side.  


1 whole Chicken (about 2-3 lbs, preferably free range)
2 baking Apples, cored and sliced
1 bottle of beer
2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon Cloves
Salt & Pepper

In a heavy duty baking oven (I used a 5qt Dutch Oven)  add the beer, apples, and cloves.. In a small owl, combine the herbs, butter, sugar, salt and pepper.  Rub the chicken with the mixture.  Go under the skin of the chicken with the rub as well.  Place the chicken in the baking oven with the liquids, and allow it to season in the fridge  for an hour.  

Preheat the oven to 375F.  You can place a skewer through the two drumsticks to keep them in place.  Place the baking dish in the oven.  Cook, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the temperature of the inner thigh reaches 170F.  (While the chicken is cooking, baste the chicken with the beer about every 15 minutes).  Uncover the dish, place oven on broil (500F) and cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven.  Allow the chicken to rest for 1o minutes, and carve.  Serve with the cooking liquids and apple slices.

1 Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Toss the squash with a bit of olive oil (enough to coat) and salt.  Place on a baking sheet & cover with foil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until softened.  Remove from the sheet and place in a bowl.  Add the cream and taste for salt.  With an immersion blender (or potato masher) puree the squash, but still keeping a bit of the chunks.  

BAKED POLENTA SQUARES (adapted from 101 cookbooks)
1 1/2 cups Polenta
1 cup Milk
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Parmesan
Melted Butter (about 3 tablespoons)

In a large saucepans, bring the liquids to a boil.  In a slow stream, add the polenta while stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Lower the heat to low and add salt to taste (be careful - depending on the amount of salt in your stock you may not need additional salt).  Continue to stir while the polenta thickens.  Add the cheese.

Remove from heat and spread the mixture into a slightly buttered baking dish to about 1/2" thick.  Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Carefully flip the baking dish over onto a cutting board.  Using a sharp knife cut the polenta sheet into desired shapes.  I cut into squares, and then cut those into triangles.  Brush the pieces with the melted butter.

Bake the pieces in a 450F oven for 15-20 minutes until they start to brown.

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