Have you heard? Thomas Keller has another new cookbook out. It’s titled “Ad Hoc” and it contains casual American comfort food recipes suitable for the home kitchen, but with Keller’s attention to detail. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy it. But this book costs a lot more than I’m usually willing to spend on a cookbook, so for now I’m biding my time for a good coupon from Border’s.
Chef-driven cookbooks can be iffy propositions, containing recipes that you would never make at home (I don’t think I’ll be buying Keller’s sous vide cookbook any time soon) or ingredient lists that are actually lists of other recipes that need to be made first. Compared to previous Keller cookbooks, these recipes are considered quick-and-easy, but his bar is set a bit higher than most.
So I was happy to find out it’s possible to do a little test drive first. Sarah at The Delicious Life compiled links to recipes from Ad Hoc that have been reprinted on the Web. There are 21, about 10% of the the total cookbook. So I can try a couple and get a feel for how approachable the recipes really are for the home cook.
Thanks to my CSA I have a lot of root vegetables right now. A pound of squash goes much further than a pound of spinach. With nine squash (squashes?) sitting on my counter, not to mention crisper drawers full of sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, radishes, a celeriac and a rutabaga . . . well I feel a bit overwhelmed.
So I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables. It looked like I could make a decent dent in my root vegetable supply.
The recipe also calls for some fresh thyme. This is what my garden looked like when I went out to pick it. It doesn’t get much bleaker than this my friends. It looks like a good day for a roast chicken dinner, doesn’t it?
I bought a beautiful chicken from Anderson Farm at Traditional Foods Minnesota. The recipes suggests leaving the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a couple of days if you want nice crispy skin.
Be warned: A chicken left uncovered in the fridge for a couple of days will look a little scary . . . like it’s been beat up by the other food in the fridge while the door is closed.
If you want to truss you chicken here’s a handy little video demonstrating a simple method.
The nice thing about this farm chicken, vs. a grocery store chicken, was that I actually had pan drippings at the end to work with. I saved the fat and drippings to make chicken pot pie with the leftovers.
This warms me up just to look at it:
I’m really looking forward to trying more.
Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
adapted from Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller
1 whole chicken, preferably organic (4 – 4.5 pounds)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
3 rutabagas (I only used one)
2 large turnips or a few small ones
12 small yellow or red new potatoes
8-10 small whole cippolini onions (This was my addition because I had some. Don’t peel them. When they’re done roasting you can snip the end off and the onion will pop right out of the skin)
1/3 cup canola oil
4 T butter at room temperature or 2 T duck fat
For crispy skin, leave the bird uncovered in the fridge for a couple of days. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1.5 hours before roasting (Don’t skip this step).
Heat the oven to 475F.
For easier clean up, line the roasting pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper, add the garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, and the lemon half in the cavity. For a nicer presentation, truss the chicken.
Cut the rutabagas and turnips in similar sized pieces, about 3/4 inch wedges or dice. Cut the carrots in half crosswise and again lengthwise. Keep the young potatoes whole, or, if they are a bit too big cut them in half. Place all veggies in a large bowl, add 1/4 cup of canola oil, 2-3 thyme sprigs, salt, pepper, and toss well. Transfer them to a roasting pan, make a small space in the center to place the chicken. Rub the remaining canola oil all over the skin of the chicken, seasoning it again with salt and pepper.
Just before roasting, add pats of butter over the breast, or brush with some duck fat (Yum!).
Roast at 475F for 25 minutes, lower the temperature to 400F and roast for 1 hour, but check the internal temperature after 45 minutes; when it reaches 160F remove the chicken from the oven. Allow the chicken to rest under an aluminum foil tent for 20 minutes before carving (I found my veggies needed some more time so I stirred them up and returned them to the oven while the chicken was resting).
A few minutes before serving, place the roasting dish on the stove and heat the vegetables, moving them around to coat with the juices accumulated during roasting (At this point I drained off some of the fat and juices to be used later).
Carve your bird and dig in!