Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Cuisine

Line around the block at the market on Saturday morning - even the delis had lines

Since I've been in the habit of shopping each day for that evening's dinner, I was caught off guard when Hurricane Irene came to town.  All of the markets started to get jammed with customers starting on Friday afternoon.  I had dinner out on Friday night at Café Luxembourg so I was covered for that night but the weekend was another matter.  I even tried shopping on the way home from dinner but there were still lines around the block - even at 11 PM!

Happier Times: Lobster Salad with Mango at Café Luxembourg Friday Night

Shop Owners their windows in preparation for Irene

I woked up early on Saturday morning and went shopping at 6:30 AM.  The good news is that there were no lines.  The bad news is that the shelves were practically stripped bare.  This was West Side Market and I don't trust their fish.  But I found a bottle of Lydia Bastianich's marinara and I found a whole organic chicken which knew would be good for a couple of meals.  I also bought some cold cuts, a few cans of tuna in water and bottled water.

Trussing is not my forté but I managed!

Intially I thought I'd just cover the chicken in barbecue sauce and roast it, but then I remembered a delicous recipe from Chef Bobo.  The recipe calls for you to sautée the chicken in a frying pan. 

Before yousautée the chicken you dry it off - I used plenty of paper towels.  Next, you season the bird.  The market was completely out of my usual standbys like chopped rosemary, basil and tyme.  All I had in the fridge was garlic and lemons.  I put plenty of salt and pepper in the cavity and on the outside.  I cut up a lemon and put it in the cavity.  Next, I took a garlic mincer and had at it.  The garlic was very large and fresh and I  minced the garlic into a paste.  I added a little extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.  I put the minced garlic under the skin, making sure that it didn't rip.  Next you truss the chicken by putting the wings under the bird and tying the legs and wings tightly to the body.  Cover the skin with the extra virgin olive oil.  You don't want too much oil in the pan.  Note the 1/4 oil is for the bird, the garlic and the pan.  

Next you put the trussed chicken in a pre-heated pan with extra virgin olive oil and a pat of butter.  Brown on all sides - be sure to get the sides as the dark meat takes longer to cook.  All you're doing is browning.  You will finish off the chicken in the oven. 

Here's the finished product after it comes out of the oven.  After grilling on the stovetop roast in a 350 degree oven for 30 - 40 minutes.  When you sautee on the stovetop first it creates a golden crust and seals in the juices.

Here's the finished producted.  I had some broccoli in the fridge and some tomatoes which I roasted along with the chicken.  The pan juices made a delicious gravy.  And there was plenty left over for Sunday night dinner.

I'll post more about the hurricane weekend tomorrow.


1 medium sized organic chicken
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1 - 2 pats room temperature butter
Salt & pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Pre-heat oven safe, non-stick frying pan (I used my Le Creuset)
Add oil and butter to the pan - don't overdo it - use 1 - 2 tablespoons tops; if you put too much oil in the pan the skin will burn off
Dry chicken using paper towels
Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper
Peel garlic and mince using a sharp knife or a mincer until it develops a paste-like consistency
Transfer garlic to a small plate and douse with oil; add salt and pepper to taste
Fill cavity with lemon slices
Smear garlic past under the skin of the bird being careful to keep the skin intact and not to tear it
Truss bird by folding wings underneath; wrap oven-proof string under the wings up to the drumsticks tying them close and tightly to the body
Sautée in pre-heated frying pan until golden brown on all sides
Transfer to 350 degree pre-heated oven for 30 - 40 minutes

Thanks to Chef Bobo for the delicious recipe!

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