4.04.2006

Tangerine Chicken

When it comes to cooking, I'm something of a girl with a curl. When I'm good, I'm good. When I'm not... well, Andy has quite a resevoir of tales, but we aren't going to talk about that right now, because last night's supper was good. Very, very good.

First of all, I preheated the oven as hot as it would get. And I do mean as hot as it would get. For our oven, that was 550 degrees. Then I grated up the peels to around 3 tangerines, and combined them with the juice of about 1/2 a tangerine, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. And sea salt and cracked pepper.

Then I asked my husband to rinse the chicken, and empty its body cavity. It was a win-win situation. He felt very manly, reaching in and yanking out all the internal organs. And I was very glad not to have to deal with that icky yucky task, even if it meant getting laughed at mercilessly when Andy realized that the internal organs had merely been packed in there by the butcher, and didn't really require much yanking at all.

Anyway, once the chicken was ready, I brushed the tangerine mixture over its skin, and placed it wrong-side up in a baking dish. There are excellent reasons for roasting a chicken upside-down. It allows the juices to flow down into the dry breast meat, and cooks the legs faster, allowing for more even cooking. The reason I did this particular chicken upside-down, however, was because I got confused. When I served it up, I was rather dismayed at how little breast meat there was on the back... but I digress.

As soon as I put the ckicken in the oven I turned the heat down to a sensible 375.And really, that's the important part of the whole thing. To preheat the oven really high, and then let it slowly cool down to a sensible temperature as the meat cooks. It quickly and evenly browns the outside, sealing in juices and deepening the flavor, and then lets the inside cook more slowly, keeping things nice and tender. I originally got the idea from an amazingly delicious mandarin pork roast, but it works beautifully on beef, turkey, and chicken as well. It's just like browning it beforehand, except that it's much less work, and the result is much more even.

Anyway, the whole bird was done in about an hour, which makes it great for when you're short on time.

It also means that it was done long before the potatoes.

4 comments:

M said...

Elena, that sounds wonderful!
I don't do much baking of whole birds (read: never) what with the fact that I tend to cook for 1, but I'll try to bear that little tip in mind. Sounds like a good one. =)

Destination...Gloryland! said...

I am definately going to try this! Is there something special about tangerines versus oranges? Here in Minnesota, tangerines are sometimes hard to come by, but I will look for them next time I'm in town.

Elena said...

Well, the reason I used tangerines was because we keep a lot of them around the house. Because they're so wonderfully yummy, and the peels slide right off. Which is good for snacking, less good for grating peels... =)

All that to say, I bet it would be yummy with oranges. And it would be easier to grate the peels! =)

Destination...Gloryland! said...

Printed off with revisions and all! :)