When the date was set the menu was decided. Nothing too much the point of the meal was to get family together to celebrate. The meal and the day were merely an excuse to gather.
Whole roasted chicken, potatoes, cabbage. Straight forward, traditional, to the point.
Friday night, lashing rain (as they say), traffic a nightmare. On any other night it would not have mattered. It is not possible to cook a whole 3.5 pound bird in less than one hour. The oven had been roaring away at 400˚F ready to go. The potatoes were sliced thick, tossed with olive oil on a sheet tray, seasoned, and thrust in the oven.
With that going my attention returned to the chicken. Cooking the whole chicken seemed an impossible task. Only if it was left whole, separated the breasts and legs would cook in a fraction of the time. It does not take long to butcher a chicken. The great chef Jacques Pepin has videos of step by step technique.
Now there were two projects happening on the stove top. The chicken legs were searing away in the cast iron pan. The breasts at the ready for their turn. The body, or what remained, was bobbing gently in a pot of simmering water with garlic, leeks, and herbs. Soon to be chicken stock.
Two-thirds of the way there and no knock on the front door – feeling a bit smug. All that remained was keeping an eye on the food in the oven and cooking the cabbage. The veg was roughly chopped into thin strips and sautéed over medium heat until soft.
While the chicken rested capers were added to the pan, then wine was used to deglaze. Once this had reduced a few pats of butter were added for an indulgent pan sauce. This was poured over the chicken before going to the table.
Guiness and a steady Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand paired well with tonights dinner; a feast that came together rather quickly in the end.