Jamie’s Roasted Chicken and Croutons

Another chef that we like to watch on the Cooking Channel is Jamie Oliver.   Some of his stuff is hard to make, since we don’t have our own garden.  (I know, excuses, excuses.  Hey, for the records, I have killed many basil plants, and basil plants are supposed to be hardy!)    One day he made a wonderful Winter Crunch Salad from his own garden, which I wished I could replicate.  I was especially in love with those colorful and funny looking carrots.  I knew that I won’t be able to find those carrots easily, so I just bypassed this particular recipe.  And I also know, I could easily replace those fancy carrots with regular carrots – but then, it would be visually boring …

And, in a different episode, Jamie made this gorgeous and mouthwatering “Proper Chicken Caesar Salad”.  Both Hubby and I watched this episode, and we both wanted to eat whatever he made on TV.  But since we just wanted to taste the chicken, we skipped the Caesar Salad part, hence the title of this post.

Because Hubby is a white meat eater, we decided to cook a whole chicken instead of just chicken legs.  So when I got to the grocery store, my eyes were bigger than my belly.  I bought a six pounder.  Ha ha.. Yes, a three kilo chicken!  Well, since I was going to invest all that time cooking, might as well cook the bigger chicken, right?  Right.

So, chicken, Pancetta (which I had to ask the Deli section to slice me some – even these were round and not strips like what Jamie used), rosemary, French bread, olive oil, salt and pepper were all I needed for this dish.

 

First I chopped the rosemary.

 

Then, since we really were not going to use the bread for croutons, I ripped the bread into bigger chunks and put them into the iron skillet, over which I drizzled some olive oil to prevent the bread from sticking.  (Cross your fingers).  I did this before I start messing with the chicken.

 

Then I opened up the chicken package and gave it a good rinse, and patted it dry.

 

Then I quartered the chicken into four…  If you’re thinking, hmm, that is redundant – I just want to throw it out there and see if you’re paying attention or not… 🙂

 

Patted dry the chicken pieces again and drizzled it with olive oil…

 

Sprinkled the rosemary… Yelled at Hubby to come to the kitchen to help me sprinkle on the salt and pepper…

 

Then, plopped the chicken on top of the bread.  I remembered Jamie put the chicken leg with its leg sticking up… I’m not sure how to do that with these cuts, so I just laid them flat like that and popped it into the preheated oven at 400F.

 

Then I got the pancetta ready and separated the slices – since I got them at the Deli, I got half a pound.  But I ended up only using 9 slices, roughly maybe 2-3 oz.

 

After 60 minutes, we pulled out the chicken to check its doneness.  It wasn’t quite ready yet, so we cooked it some more.  And remember, all this time, we had been smelling the mouthwatering smell coming out of the oven…

 

Then, we pulled it out again, and checked the inner temperature, and we were ready to put the pancetta on top of the chicken.

 

Twenty minutes later….

 

I dished it up with leftover Tomato Salad, and oh my goodness!!!  The skin was crunchy – I know it’s bad for you – but a bite here and there won’t hurt you.  The chicken itself was tender, moist, and full of flavor.  The chunky croutons?  My co-worker and I discussed the week before about the bread getting soggy.  The bread right at the bottom of the chicken was soggy.  But the bread where it touched the iron skillet was hard and crunchy.  And it exploded with flavor!  You would think that the croutons were greasy tasting with all of the chicken juice and olive oil, but it wasn’t.  It was super delicious.  This recipe is definitely a keeper, and next time I would throw the Caesar Salad in there.  Another thing that I would do – I would definitely  try to make the chicken stand up, and also turn the bread over when I put the pancetta on top of the chicken to brown the soggy part.  And will definitely try the Ciabatta bread to see the difference in texture.

 

I brought whatever little bits of leftovers I had to work for lunch, and one of my co-workers was saying “Something smells really good… who’s food is it?”  As to the other leftover, when I reheated it in the oven, the bread part got even browner – but the chicken stayed moist and tender.  So, do you want to try to make this chicken? 🙂

 

PS:  For my recipe collection purposes, I am only listing the recipe for the chicken here.  So the printable will only mention Roasted Chicken recipe and not the Caesar Salad’s recipe.  If you would like to see Jamie’s “Proper Chicken Caesar Salad” recipe, please scroll down to the bottom.

Print recipe here.

Jamie’s Roasted Chicken and Croutons
Recipe courtesy: Jamie Oliver, from Proper Chicken Caesar Salad recipe

Ingredients
1 whole chicken, quartered, skin on
1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 9 ounces), torn into thumb-sized pieces
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices pancetta or bacon

Direction:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a snug-fitting roasting pan with the pieces of torn-up bread. Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to make sure everything is well coated, then lift the chicken legs up to the top, so they sit above the bread. This way, the bread will soak up all the lovely juices from the chicken, giving you the best croutons! Pop the pan into the preheated oven.

After 60 minutes the chicken should be nicely cooked. Take the pan out of the oven, drape the pancetta or bacon over the chicken and croutons, and put back for another 15 to 20 minutes for everything to crisp up. The chicken is ready when you can pinch the meat off the bone easily. When they’re cooked, remove the pan from the oven and set it aside for the chicken to cool down slightly.

Proper Chicken Caesar Salad

Recipe Excerpted from JAMIE AT HOME by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (c) 2008. Published in the U.S. by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved. Available wherever books are sold. http://www.jamieoliver.com

Prep Time: 45 min Inactive Prep Time: — Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min Level:

Easy Serves:

4 to 6 servings Directions

With my own versions of the classics, like Caesar salad, it’s not about changing things entirely; it’s about respecting the original while bigging up the flavors and textures where I can. My twists for this salad are to use chicken legs (not dry old breasts!), smoky pancetta and lovely rustic croutons to suck up all the juices. It’s a lovely little salad with just a hint of attitude – and it’s versatile, as you can serve it hot or cold.

P.S. Use your imagination – if you have any other unusual salad leaves, flowers or herb shoots lying around, chuck some in to make it look a little less predictable.

Ingredients
4 whole free-range or organic chicken legs, skin on
1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 9 ounces), torn into thumb-sized pieces
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices pancetta or bacon
1/4 clove peeled garlic
4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan, plus a few shavings to serve
1 heaped tablespoon creme fraiche
1 lemon, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 or 3 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves discarded

Direction:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the chicken legs in a snug-fitting roasting pan with the pieces of torn-up bread. Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to make sure everything is well coated, then lift the chicken legs up to the top, so they sit above the bread. This way, the bread will soak up all the lovely juices from the chicken, giving you the best croutons! Pop the pan into the preheated oven.

After 45 minutes the chicken should be nicely cooked. Take the pan out of the oven, drape the pancetta or bacon over the chicken and croutons, and put back for another 15 to 20 minutes for everything to crisp up. The chicken legs are ready when you can pinch the meat off the bone easily. When they’re cooked, remove the pan from the oven and set it aside for the chicken to cool down slightly.

Pound the garlic and anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar or a Flavor Shaker until you have a pulp. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the Parmesan, creme fraiche, lemon juice and 3 times as much extra-virgin olive oil as lemon juice. Season dressing, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Pull the chicken meat off the leg bones – you can use 2 forks to do this, or your hands if you’re tough like me – and tear it up roughly with the croutons and the bacon. Wash, spin dry and separate the lettuce leaves, tear them up and toss with the chicken, croutons, bacon and creamy, cheesy dressing. Scatter with some Parmesan shavings.

“Our agreement with the producers of “Jamie at Home” only permit us to make 2 recipes per episode available online. Food Network regrets the inconvenience to our viewers and foodnetwork.com users”

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