the life and death of tweety mccluck: part two

Stop right here. You may be missing out on a freshly-released original song about my roast chicken. Please click over here to head back to Part One before continuing on. This post will make a lot more sense once I introduce the story.

So as I was saying in Part One, we had a special guest for dinner Saturday night—though I must amend that by saying all our guests are special, this one just happens to be quite unique. 

Long story short: in December of 1985, my parents picked up this incredibly petite, smiling blue-eyed baby, decided to take her home and love her for the rest of everyone’s lives. There were lots of things they couldn’t have imagined about her—the places she would go, the gazillion recitals she would perform, and the chicken nuggets she simply refused.

Earlier in 1985, there was a man named Bob. A kind, hard working mid-forties fellow living his life in New York when—surprise surprise—I managed to pop into the picture. Not that it was this simple, but everyone decided it would be best to give me to a couple really ready for an extra Christmas present that year. And that’s pretty much how I ended up home.

Curiosity + a bit of life experience and maturity + supportive family and Andrew + a court order led me to meet Bob two years ago. Last night, he stopped in for dinner.

And onto the story of Tweety.

Easy Impress-Your-Guests Roast Chicken

with endless gratitude to Ina Garten

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 lemons
  • 3 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 onion, plus carrots or potatoes (all optional)
  • for the gravy:

  • 1 cup white wine (or tablespoon of red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • cleaning Tweety

    Preheat the oven to 425F. Remove the chicken giblets (thank goodness Tweety was clean, I got off the hook). Then rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan (or, if it’s a small bird like Tweets, a ceramic 9×13 casserole works just fine). Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken—ensuring you’re using large kosher salt and fresh pepper here.

    Stuff the cavity with the thyme (reserving enough thyme to garnish the dish) 1 lemon, halved, and 2 halves of the garlic. Now since Tweety was small, I had to cut the lemon in quarters. Know, too, that you simply keep the peels on; the lemon rind will caramelize to become edible, and the garlic skin will simply slip off upon roasting.

    Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

    Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Cut 2 of the lemons in quarters and scatter the quarters and remaining garlic around the chicken. If you’re including onion, carrots, potatoes, or fennel, drizzle the veggies with a little olive oil and salt them, too.

    Roast the chicken for 1 hour (longer for a bird over 4lb.) until your meat thermometer reads 180F, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

    Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy. (Am I fooling you yet, Lindsey The Chicken Expert?)

    We interrupt here to bring you this amusing quote of the night:

    Lindsey: What do I use to transfer this hot bird to a plate?? I’ve got a pancake spatula. Tongs?

    Bob: Well, you could usually use a meat fork.

    Lindsey: I didn’t register for a meat fork. 

    this is a good time to pose

    Thank you for your patience. We now return you back to your regularly scheduled recipe.

    Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan. To the juices in the bottom of the pan, add the wine (or a tablespoon of red wine vinegar) and chicken stock and bring it to a boil. If you’re using a casserole you don’t want to put over the burner, be sure to scrape up all the lovely brown bits with hot chicken stock so it transfers to the saucepan for the gravy.

    Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

    Now, here is a gourmet touch I added: when your (health-conscious) guests aren’t looking, whisk a piece of cold butter into your finished gravy for shine and richness.

    Slice the chicken on a platter (or recruit a meat-eater to help with this complicated task). Don’t forget to remove Tweety’s twine!

    Garnish the chicken platter with the roasted garlic, reserved thyme and 1 lemon, sliced. Serve with the gravy.

    not that it holds vegetarian appeal, but I do say it looks scrumptious

    Next up? The unique autumn pasta I served alongside, and a simple starter salad.

    Tweety McCluck Part Three: The Last Stand comes soon to a blog near you. Stay Tuned!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    a joyful fall to one and all

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    1 Comment

    Filed under dinners, here to share, techniques, the basics

    One response to “the life and death of tweety mccluck: part two

    1. Meghan D

      Lindsey,

      Your blog is the cutest. Just discovered it yesterday, and made the roasted chicken last night. I used rosemary instead of the thyme because it’s all I had lying around.

      My fiance (I just got engaged on Wednesday!!!) LOVED it.

      I hope you and Andrew are doing well, it looks like you’re definitely eating well!

      All my best,
      Meghan

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