Four words: Chicken Dinner For Lunch.
One word: Wow.
I've always wanted to learn the fine art of roasting a whole chicken, but I've never gotten it exactly right before today. I got a young, grassfed, free-range chicken a little while back and thawed it a few days ago with the idea of making a chicken dinner when Keith came home from L.A. He got in late and didn't want it on Sunday, and then yesterday I was busy, so today we thought what the hell - let's just have it for lunch. We like to have a bigger lunch and a lighter dinner anyway, for health reasons.
So, inspired by this recipe at Epicurious, I roasted that little chicken. Got the oven all nice and hot while I rinsed the chicken and patted it very dry with paper towels, and then sprinkled it thoroughly with fresh-ground pepper and black smoked sea salt. Stuffed the cavity with a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary, just cut from the yard. I roasted it that way, making sure to keep the oven tightly shut the whole time, and then when it was done (about 70 minutes), I pulled it out and moved the chicken to a plate. I stirred more fresh rosemary into the pan juices, along with a big spoonful of Dijon mustard, and basted the chicken with that while I let it rest. I basted it a few times while Keith grilled several ears of corn and then we filled our plates with chicken, grilled corn, and a nice little tomato-cucumber salad. We ate on the porch, and after lunch I picked a bunch of grapes from the vine and we shared the fresh grapes in the nice weather.
The rest of the chicken is ready for use in other meals over the rest of the week, and I just filled a gallon-size freezer bag with grilled corn freshly cut from the cob. Keith laughed that it was a lot of grilled corn. But in the winter, when I throw a handful of grilled corn kernels into a hearty beef stew to enjoy on a rainy night, I'll see that date on the freezer bag and remember this sunny late-summer day when Keith fired up the grill and we enjoyed this lovely meal on the porch. This is why I like food preservation, after all. "The day I put the can in my cart" just doesn't carry the same kinds of memories with it.
I deeply regret that I wasn't able to photograph this chicken. We're still unpacking, and someday I'll find my camera cable and this blog will have pictures again. One fine day...