vendredi, mai 05, 2006

Herb Roast Chicken, Stingray in Butter-Herb Sauce

Herb Roast Chicken is easy to make and is a hit with most children. When I am not in the mood to cook, I usually put some chicken to roast in the oven.

The important thing is that the chicken should be fresh. Could be a whole free-range chicken, or a few whole thighs. Just clean the chicken, rub salt and pepper over it, stuff some crushed garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme (even mint) inside it, sprinkle some Herbes de Provence (or just rosemary, thyme or estragon...) all over it, douse with some olive oil and white wine from time to time during the roasting. A few slabs of salted butter on the breasts during the roasting adds even more taste - if you're not too health conscious, of course.

Pre-heat an oven at 180ºC. Put in the chicken and cook for 40-60 mins, turning it over at half-time (if using a roasting pan) and wetting it with its own juice or with more white wine. When it's nicely-grilled, let the chicken cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting it up so as to allow it to relax its muscles. If you insist on eating it hot, heat it up in the oven quickly before serving.

If the juice is not too oily (depends on the chicken and on what your threshhold for oil is), you can retrieve some of it, squeeze in some lemon juice (and eventually crème fraîche), adjust the salt and pepper and then serve with the chicken. As I usually use free-range chicken and cook it with white wine and olive oil, the sauce is normally not too oily and goes beautifully with the meat.

Potatoes whether fried, mashed, baked or boiled usually go well with the chicken. For a change, the last time I made a roast chicken, I cooked some fresh green beans (I stress on the fresh as frozen or canned green beans are disgusting. And ideally, the small, thin and crisp ones from Kenya would be the best) for 10 minutes in boiling water, drain them, wrap a slice of uncooked bacon around a bunch of them and put the bacon-green bean bouquets in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, a fresh crsipy green salad would do great.

Another quick & easy dish to make is Stingray with Butter and Herb Sauce. Clean a nice fresh piece of peeled stingray. Bring to boil a pot of water with a bouquet garni (e.g. carrots, leeks, onions, celery, whole cloves, thyme, dill, bay leaves, parsley...), salt and pepper - the all to add flavour to the cooking stock. If your fishmonger has a fumet to sell, using some of it wouldn't hurt. Or a cube of fumet de poisson.

When the water is boiling, gently slide the fish into the water, bring the water to a boil again, lower heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook the fish for maximum 10 minutes. The stingray should be cooked but not overcooked. Take the fish out of the pot, carefully remove the flesh from the cartilage and place it on a serving plate.

While the fish is cooking in the pot, melt some butter and chopped shallots (optional) in a heavy-bottomed casserole over low heat. Add in some chopped dill, parsley, salt and pepper, stir well, remove from the fire, squeeze in some lemon juice and pour the sauce over the fish on its serving plate. Can be eaten with potatoes or rice.

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