Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Third Pastured Chicken Gets a Mustard Plaster with Sage

I can’t ever remember roasting so many chickens in such a short period of time. I’ve done roast chicken Sunday Dinner style, and I’ve done a smart and sophisticated lemon butter basil preparation for my West coast friends. When my third pastured chicken becomes available at Restoration Farm, I decide the style will be rustic bistro food.

I spot Tricia Hardgrove jumping into the truck as I arrive at the farm to pick up my share. Tricia is overseeing the Hardscrabble Chicken project and she has promised that batch number three should be good. Chickens, like field workers appreciate the absence of 90 plus degree heat, she says.

“Don’t forget your chicken!” she calls out with a wave. Chicken #18 is lean and lovely, tipping the scales at 4 and a quarter pounds.

Again, I look to “A Bird in the Oven and Then Some,” by Mindy Fox for expert guidance. A lifelong Dijon addict, I am immediately drawn to the recipe “Roast Chicken with Mustard Butter” (recipe found here) which features butter, shallots, Dijon mustard, sage and lemons.

The ingredients are combined into a compound butter and slipped under the skin. This time, the skin loosens easily, and I quickly slather the bird with the savory spread, smoothing it across the breast and thighs. Practice makes perfect, and I’m getting pretty good at trussing the bird, but sometimes I’m still not sure which side is which.

This time, there’s a little smoking in the kitchen, as all that rich butter crackles and pops. But with a quick adjustment to the oven temperature, there are no major disasters and the chicken emerges from the oven a stunning, glossy, deep copper shade.

The flavor is extraordinary. The buttery Dijon and sage permeates the perfect tender white flesh of the farm-raised chicken.

The bird is served with sautéed collard greens and roasted zucchini and summer squash. My guests for this third celebration of pastured chicken are my parents, and we dine on the 101st birth anniversary of my grandmother Hilda. I remember many a delicious family dinner prepared by Grandma. She, too, would have enjoyed Chicken #18.

©2011 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Personally I don't think you can roast too many chickens. We roast a whole chicken or chicken parts almost every weekend and eat chicken sandwiches during the week for lunch.

Love the mustard shallot combination. I know your grandmother would approve also. It's nice that you celebrate her birthday. My husband's father's 99th birthday is coming up in November and he would love this for his celebration.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I roast a chicken every week. And I have sage in my garden. I don't have a farm-fresh chicken like yours, but I'll give this recipe a go.

~~louise~~ said...

When I spied your chicken in my sidebar at 4AM this morning, I couldn't take a chance to visit because I just knew I wouldn't sleep a wink dreaming about #18.

I made a good choice. Your chicken looks heavenly T.W. I "swear" I can smell it from here. I'm a huge fan of Dijon mustard although I rarely cook with it as such. I'll be changing that!

Thanks so much for sharing...

P.S. Will check on Betwitched and the Bionic Woman:)

J.W. said...

Our house eats a lot of chicken, too. I would love to track down some quality birds like yours. The color is beautiful! I can only imagine how great it must taste.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

That chicken looks amazing! I'm a Dijon lover as well, and could almost smell this roasting just looking at the pictures. I'll have to give this a try, but I'm not sure it will be quite as good as yours considering my rather anorexic looking grocery store bird in the fridge.

Deana Sidney said...

Well, I love that plate... perfect casting with the chicken, if I may say so. The chicken, raw and roasted is one perfect bird. Love the mustard addition... I don't think I've ever tried that myself which is weird since I love mustard. I've made chicken with a mustard sauce but never with a roasted one. Cool idea... i am jealous of your farm.. what a wonderful place!

tasteofbeirut said...

That chicken looks succulent! Love the tinge that mustard gives, sage and the butter; hey, can't think of a better recipe. You are going to be making this one over and over I think!
Happy birthday to your relative, what is her secret to longevity?

Gloria Baker said...

This chicken look amazing and tasty!! love it! gloria

Barbara said...

I'm really having fun with you and your roasted chickens! And they are really gorgeous plump birds too!
Love the Dijon idea. It turned out picture perfect!

Anonymous said...

Not sure if my original comment posted, but WHAT A GORGEOUS BIRD!!! I also roasted my third bird...extraordinary quality...This from Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy - having trouble posting my comments!

veron said...

sage is one of my favorite herbs to use on chicken. You are an expert chicken roaster! We use to roast chicken every week before it got too hot, but with the weather being more manageable it's time for that ritual again.