By Carolyne

Ask your butcher to spatchcock a generous roasting chicken.

Bring two cups of Offley Ruby Port to a gentle boil. Add three dry bay leaves and a quarter cup of freeze-dried parsley (it really is like fresh; I use LiteHouse Brand). Cool the port to room temperature.

Marinate the whole spatchcock chicken in the port, refrigerated overnight, in a covered dish.

In a coated cast iron Dutch oven, sweat a cup of chopped onion and a dozen whole cloves of garlic in lardon (ask your butcher for a piece of fresh fat bacon that you can cube). Mince a cup of shallots and add to the pot.

Chop six generous carrots into bite-size pieces and add to the pot. Add two cups of whole, very firm fresh baby button white mushrooms.

Continue on medium high heat but be careful not to burn. Add a cup of Winzertanz, deglaze and let simmer just a few minutes. Stir in a quarter cup of Dijon, generous salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and a large sprig of fresh thyme.

Place the marinated chicken (save the marinade liquid to add at the end of cooking) skin-side-down on the onion mix. Pour two cups of warmed Asbach Uralt brandy over the chicken. Flame the pot. (Careful!)

You will notice there is no flour in this recipe.

Place the covered Dutch oven on the bottom oven rack in a preheated low temperature oven at 300 F and roast for one hour. No peeking.

Remove from the oven and add the marinade port, using a strainer. Simmer the oven pot, covered, for 15 minutes (set your smart phone timer).

During this time, scald a cup of half and half cream. Let rise and fall three times to reduce and slightly thicken.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the chicken on a platter to rest. Gently stir the cream into the pot sauce. Dot the sauce with several generous pucks of compound herb butter from your frozen log. Do not stir, just let the butter melt. Swirl the pot to incorporate.

Place the chicken back into the Dutch oven, cover and serve as soon as practical, right from the pot, family style, or place the whole chicken skin-side-up on a hot-water heated, very deep, large serving platter, and cover with the sauce. You could serve in a large silver covered glass chafing dish if you have one.

Ideal with my whipped mashed potatoes and kale, spinach or beets and beet greens.

ALTERNATE: For an unusual, exceptional dish with a difference, at the stage where you put the oven pot on the stovetop, and after you’ve added the cold butter, add a package of whole ready to eat chestnuts (200 grams of organic ready to eat); or add chestnut purée to the scalded cream just before you add the cream to the chicken sauce.

Secondary alternate: instead of using chestnuts, slice two tins of drained crunchy water-chestnuts, quite thick. Add just before serving. Allow to heat through. An incredible “crunch” that will have people asking, “What is this?” A really special treat, indeed.

Sprinkle the serving platter with generous bunches of fresh wonderful watercress leaves.

This is truly an exceptional chicken dish that I created quite by accident, playing in my kitchen.

Spatchcock Citrus Chicken

Ask your butcher to cut a whole chicken for spatchcock.

Marinade the chicken in equal parts of a half cup each: fresh squeezed orange, lemon, lime juice and a half cup of squeezed whole homemade golden oven-roasted garlic cloves. Add a teaspoon of Dijon.

Add generous sprinkles of your favourite herbs and spices. No salt. Lots of fresh ground peppercorns. Marinate for an hour, plus or minus. When ready to roast, sprinkle both sides generously with salt.

Prepare a large low-sides, stainless steel or enameled cast iron roasting pan with two cups of coarsely chopped onion, two each fresh whole orange, lemon and lime quarter-inch full slices, spread evenly over the onions, and top with a cup of mixed candied citrus rind from your pantry citrus sugar jar, making a bed to lay the marinated chicken on.

Roast in a preheated oven, on the middle rack, at 450 F for 40 minutes, uncovered. Turn once after 20 minutes using long tongs.

The roasted citrus drippings make a natural wonderful sauce. Remove the chicken, onions and citrus, tent the chicken to rest and pour the drippings into another pot. Deglaze the roasting pan with a half cup of Asbach Uralt cognac, or for a completely different dish, deglaze using Marsala wine. Scrape up any stuck-on bits. Add back the jus, the onions and citrus from roasting. Carve the chicken into quarters and/or divide the thighs separately into two portions. The chicken will be falling off the bones.

Serve with your favourite rice or with my whipped, mashed potatoes. A nice fresh side dish is stuffed, roasted multi-coloured cherry tomatoes. Just stuff them with black-olive bread toasted breadcrumbs, and a spoon of the roasted onions and citrus from the chicken pan. Roast on 450 F for 10 minutes while you prepare your deglaze sauce.

ALTERNATE: You can prepare roast duck, rabbit or leg of lamb, a medium pork loin, or rock Cornish hens, using this same recipe.

Vermouth mustard marinated chicken breasts with vermouth shallots (or adult chicken fingers)

Into a cup of Noilly Prat, add two tablespoons of White Truffle Dijon called Petite Maison, one tablespoon of regular Dijon, salt, pepper, a little fresh lemon thyme, and your additional choice of favourite minced herbs.

Dip large chicken breasts (whole boneless, skin-on) into the vermouth whisked mixture, just briefly, and then into the freshly made coarse breadcrumbs. Mince mixed candied citrus rinds from your pantry sugar jar and add to the breadcrumb mix along with the zest of a half fresh lemon and a half fresh orange.

Roast the chicken on a rack, skin-side-down, using a rimmed sheet pan, uncovered, for 45 minutes on middle rack, at 350 F. The skin should be crispy and juices running clear. Do not overcook.

The chicken will continue to cook in its own heat and it needs to rest for at least 10 minutes to redistribute the natural juices, under a foil tent.

ALTERNATE: Cut raw chicken boneless breast into chicken-finger-size strips about the size of regular store-bought chicken fingers and bake for only 20 minutes. First dip into the vermouth mix, then gently toss in the citrus breadcrumbs.

An ideal dip for the chicken fingers is a mix of equal parts full fat sour cream (I use Gay Lea brand) and my thick homemade mayonnaise and mash a few of my marinated goat cheese coins. Add two tablespoons of the White Truffle Dijon, a sprinkle of nutmeg, a pinch of sweet paprika, a tiny dab of your refrigerated homemade golden oven-roasted or stovetop oil-poached sweet garlic purée, and a generous amount of fresh chopped parsley, and finish with a tablespoon of store-bought Red Onion and Beet Marmalade by WildlyDelicious. Add a teaspoon of Noilly Prat.

If you have my kumquat marmalade and/or my Italian plum German confit, or even my delicious tomato butter, offer them in little separate serving dishes, with individual self-serve spoons. For a more piquant flavour, perhaps offer my spectacular barbecue serving sauce. They are all magical dippers for this Noilly Prat chicken.

As a side, marinate paper thin slices of fresh raw shallots for a half hour in Noilly Prat. Drain. Toss with a drained tin of mandarin orange segments.

Use the drained shallot marinating vermouth to deglaze the chicken roasting baking sheet on a hot stovetop burner. Add the drained mandarin juice. Reduce by half and drizzle over the resting hot chicken.

Just when ready to serve, over shredded romaine, drizzle my Caesar salad dressing. Add the tossed mandarin segments and vermouth marinated shallots into the lettuce. Using a kase scharfe or a vegetable peeler, top with several thin slices of fresh parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the lettuce with crushed homemade candied favourite nuts. DELICIOUS!

© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” | Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


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