This is a flavourful way to do poultry. For this demo, I will use two standard size chickens from our local butcher, Bussier’s Quality Meats. We are truly blessed to have a great butcher in town. They make sausages, smoke all kinds of meat, and always have full counters of quality meat.
First we collect our spices. I use as many whole spices as possible, as spices begin to degrade as soon as they are ground. Everyone knows the difference between ground pepper from a jar and freshly ground pepper. When a spice is ground, all those healthy aromatics go into the air. Not immediately, but you get the picture; fresh is better.
I arranged them on a piece of paper so they would be easy to see. Top is bay leaf (2 or three). Middle row is dried lemon grass (1Tb), coriander(1Tb), dried lemon peel (1/2 Tb) and dried orange peel(1/2 Tb). Bottom is kosher salt (1 Tb). The coarse salt helps grind the spices, as well as flavouring the meat. Lemon grass and coriander have a slight citrus flavour.
Grind them up in your spice grinder, and it will come out as below. Do not worry if the spices are a little rough. No biggie. Mix the spices with butter. I use about 2 Tb.
Now we need to prepare the chickens.
I wear rubber gloves for a couple of reasons. I have some skin allergies and spices do not help. And poultry of any kind is something to be careful about…one bout of food poisoning and guests are hard to come by! This way my hands are clean when I am done. I still wash hands before and after, of course.
When everything is finished, dishes are done right away and the surfaces are cleaned with a mild bleach and water spray. Cleanliness is critical in the kitchen, esp with poultry. I know you have survived fine to this point, but there you go.
We begin by loosening the skin all over the chicken. This contributes toward a crispy skin, as well as providing pockets for spice. We remove the meat from the bones for whatever (casserole, meat pie) and then they and the skin are simmered with some water for broth or gravy.
You can loosen them right to the back of the breast
And you can loosen it into the drumsticks. Even the skin on the chicken back can be carefully lifted.
The breasts are easy. Just tuck a knob of butter under the skin. Make sure it is right under there or all that spice will run out. This is the back of the chicken, so I do not add any butter (plenty of fat down there, esp with butter running from the top).
Tuck the butter and spices all under the skin.
Ready to go into the oven at 325 F. That pan is a Lagostina that my mom bought me a couple of decades ago. Gotta love an old pan! I added 3/4 cup of white wine because, why not?
I cover the roaster for the first 45 minutes and then finish with the cover off, which helps reduce the broth as well as browning the skin. Internal temp needs to be at least 165 F.
All done. Eat them for supper, or tear the meat off for other dishes. The broth will be slightly citrus, wonderful for gravy or sauces.
Not too complicated and the taste is terrific. I use this method with fresh herbs in the summer and it is wonderful. If you leave out the butter, you can still put herbs and spices under the skin, where it will flavour the meat and broth. I would not use olive oil instead of the butter, especially if you are going to use the broth.
If you have any comments, I would love to hear them.
St. John of the Asylum