Roasted Tangerine Chicken

Learning to cook a whole chicken is so much easier than it sounds. The key is an internal probe thermometer - a cheap little gadget that makes roasting almost completely foolproof!

Roasted Tangerine Chicken

1 Whole Chicken
2 Tbsp Butter
1 onion, quartered
3 Tangerines, quartered
Fresh Rosemary
1 c fresh Tangerine Juice
1 Tbsp Honey
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° 
Rub the entire chicken with the butter. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, including the area between the skin and the meat. Stuff the cavity with the onions, tangerines, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Set your probe thermometer's alarm to 161° and insert into the thickest part of the breast, being sure not to hit the keel bone. Place in the oven. Roast the chicken until your probe thermometer goes off (usually around 45 minutes to an hour).

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest under tin foil. In a hot sauce pan, add about a tablespoon of pan drippings, the tangerine juice, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the sauce to 1/2 cup, about 8 to 10 minutes.Carve the chicken however you like, and drizzle with the tangerine sauce.

Notes/Substitutions: I don't actually own a roasting pan, so I place my chicken on the little rack from my toaster oven, on top a glass casserole dish. For tips on preparing poultry, I highly recommend the Good Eats Episode "Romancing the Bird" (watch it here part 1 of 4). This recipe is just one idea for a roast chicken, but the technique is indispensable. For a more "everyday" roast chicken, stuff with any aromatics and fill the casserole dish with your choice of root vegetables.

French Onion Soup

I have been meaning to make this recipe for a while but, although it isn't what I would consider a difficult recipe, it is a labor intensive one!

French Onion Soup
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced
2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 C dry white wine
8 C beef broth
2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
6-8 slices of French bread, toasted
1 garlic clove
12 ounces Swiss Cheese (gruyere) grated
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the butter and oil over med/high heat.  Add the onions and cook for 8-10 minutes, until they are softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, sugar and thyme and cook over med heat for 30-35 minutes, until the onions are well browned, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir until well blended. Stir in the white wine and broth and bring to a boil.  Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Stir in the brandy.
Preheat the broiler and rub each slice of toasted bread with the garlic clove.  Fill each bowl with soup, float a piece of bread on top and sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.

Notes/Substitutions: This soup is great on its own, but if I am already spending the afternoon making it, I like to take a little extra time while it's simmering to make another classic French dish - Curly Endive Salad. I substituted a bagged salad mix for the endive.

Curly Endive Salad 
6 Cups curly endive or escarole leaves
5-6 Tbsp. EVOO
6 thick cut bacon slices cut crosswise into thin strips
4 slices of Goat Cheese (store for 10 minutes in the freezer before slicing)
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan and add the bacon. Fry until gently browned.  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Dip the chilled goat cheese slices in whisked egg, and then in bread crumbs. Fry in bacon fat for about a minute on each site. Remove and Drain on paper towels. Stir the garlic, vinegar and mustard into the pan with the remaining  oil and heat until just warm, whisking to combine.  Tear the lettuce into a bowl and pour the warm dressing over it.  Add the fried bacon and goat cheese.