Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The “Soy Sauce Secret” for Succulent Crispy Roasted Chicken

One of our French Chef friends, Christian Delouvrier gave me his secret recipe, and I am about to share it with you. This produces moist delicious chicken on the inside, with dark crispy skin on the outside. It came about (as Christian explained to me) on one of his visits to Chinatown where he was astounded by the crispy skin the Chinese were able to obtain with their Peking ducks. He soon realized that the secret was in basting the duck with soy sauce during its cooking. He then tried it on chicken and perfected the recipe below.  I make this about once a week and we continue to love it. I have also tried it on duck and it worked there too- but we’ll save that for another column!

1 3lb chicken
You really need to start with an organic free range chicken raised with no antibiotics. My favorite is the “Cou Nu” from which is a French breed raised according the Red Label protocols – some of which I am told are raised right here in Columbia County! .I also like D’Artagnan and Murray’s.  Bell & Evans are also good. well as some of the locally organically grown chicken. The timings here are for a 3lb chicken. You will have to adjust accordingly for a bigger chicken. 

½ lb Butter
It must be left out to soften at room temperature. I love Plugra, which is an American butter made according to French methods. It is sold at Adams. But any decent butter will do for this.

The Basting Sauce
1 Cup of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Butter
½ Cup of Water
Place the three ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Mix and take off the heat. Set aside.

This will require one hour of roasting in the oven and 20 minutes of resting before carving and serving. Preheat oven to 475F.
Salt the interior of the chicken and salt and pepper the outside. Smear both the inside and outside of the chicken with butter. All over! Put on more butter than you think you should, and then some more!
Place the chicken on its side and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken onto its other side and roast another 10 minutes. During the roasting, prepare the Basting Sauce mixture.
Turn the oven down to 425F. Turn the chicken breast side up and brush it all over with the basting sauce.
Roast another 10 minutes and re-baste. Continue roasting another 10 minutes.  Turn down heat to 350F and re-baste. After another 10 minutes baste again. When it has roasted 20 minutes at 475F, 20 minutes at 425F and 20 minutes at 350F, it is done. Take out of the oven, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely tented over the chicken and wait 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Serving Suggestions
Any combination of potatoes, vegetables and/or mixed salad goes well with roasted chicken, but I like a very simple recipe that one of my French girlfriends gave me decades ago that always seems to impress people. Wash medium size new potatoes (the light skin kind) and cut in half lengthwise. Place in the oven skin side down. When they are cooked, the non skin side will form a crispy layer that will rise slightly as it browns. This signals that the potato is cooked. . Timing is an issue because it changes with the size of the potato, but about 40 minutes at 350F is usually about right. Serve immediately because it will fall like a soufflé – in fact they are often call “soufflé potatoes”.

Gerard’s Wine Suggestion
The soy sauce brings an exotique note that suggests selecting a slightly spicy wine. I hesitated between a Pinot Noir, a Coteaux du Languedoc (Cabernet Sauvignon), an Anjou (Cabernet Franc) or a Beaujolais appellation Brouilly I decided on the latter when I found Château de La Chaize 2008 at Arlington Wines for only $14.99 This deep ruby wine is 100% Gamay. It unveils warm aromas of cherry jam ,spices and dark berries. Rich, round and supple it leaves a pleasant impression of softness, yet generous and gourmand. It will complement this roast chicken well. 

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