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The Palena Chicken Project


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#1 Al Dente

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 08:40 AM

I've been to Palena about 25 or 30 times now, and I've only ever had the occasional bite of someone else's order of THE Roast Chicken. Well, last night, after exhibiting tremendous restraint by not having one of the tempting multi-course combinations from the regular menu, I ordered the chicken for myself. In the words of Christopher Walken as The Continental, "wow... wowie wow wow WOW".

So, how can this dish be made at home? I have it on good authority that the bird is brined with cardamom, star anise, and vanilla. Are there any other flavors in there? What would the recipe look like for the brine? I imagine it's air dried before browning. How does he get the skin so uniformly brown and crisp? Is it seared first in a pan then finished in the oven? I suspect a blow torch might be involved for touching up the hard to get to spots.

I want to get to the bottom of this so I plan on trying a few experiments over the coming months. Is anyone else interested in trying to decode this recipe? We'll surely win the Nobel Prize for Poultry Preparation should we succeed.

Michael Ollinger

 

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#2 shogun

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 09:17 AM

We'll surely win the Nobel Prize for Poultry Preparation should we succeed.

But you'll be dead within the week. Les jeux sont faits. :)
Matt Robinson

I'll have the beef car-patchio to start, and the braised lamb shank...........and a Yorkie. Buttered.

#3 mdt

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 09:18 AM

I've been to Palena about 25 or 30 times now, and I've only ever had the occasional bite of someone else's order of THE Roast Chicken. Well, last night, after exhibiting tremendous restraint by not having one of the tempting multi-course combinations from the regular menu, I ordered the chicken for myself. In the words of Christopher Walken as The Continental, "wow... wowie wow wow WOW".

So, how can this dish be made at home? I have it on good authority that the bird is brined with cardamom, star anise, and vanilla. Are there any other flavors in there? What would the recipe look like for the brine? I imagine it's air dried before browning. How does he get the skin so uniformly brown and crisp? Is it seared first in a pan then finished in the oven? I suspect a blow torch might be involved for touching up the hard to get to spots.

I want to get to the bottom of this so I plan on trying a few experiments over the coming months. Is anyone else interested in trying to decode this recipe? We'll surely win the Nobel Prize for Poultry Preparation should we succeed.

I have plenty of time on my hands now and would be more than happy to participate in noble quest such as this! :)

#4 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:49 AM

I have plenty of time on my hands now and would be more than happy to participate in noble quest such as this!  :)

Has anyone thought of asking Ruta how he does it?
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#5 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:54 AM

Has anyone thought of asking Ruta how he does it?

But that takes all the fun out of it!!!

I recall hearing that there is tarragon involved too...

#6 scottreitz

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:56 AM

Has anyone thought of asking Ruta how he does it?

I tried for my piece on DCist. He's not talking..his waitresses arent talking...nobody's talking. If you'd like a good start I assert that I got close, but would be foolish to think I produced a duplicate. Either way its definilty the best chicken I've ever had at my home. If you get close yourself...I'd love to know how you did it.

http://www.dcist.com...nic_chicken.php

#7 AlliK

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 12:09 PM

I have it on good authority that the bird is brined with cardamom, star anise, and vanilla.

Do you think there might be cinnamon in there somewhere too? The flavor of the bird tends to remind me a bit of the moroccan spice blend ras-el-hanout.

#8 Al Dente

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 02:05 PM

I tried for my piece on DCist.  He's not talking..his waitresses arent talking...nobody's talking.  If you'd like a good start I assert that I got close, but would be foolish to think I produced a duplicate.  Either way its definilty the best chicken I've ever had at my home.  If you get close yourself...I'd love to know how you did it.

http://www.dcist.com...nic_chicken.php

Yeah, my understanding is that the recipe is top secret. I work with a couple of chefs who used to work with chef Ruta at the White House, so perhaps I'll pick their brains a bit.

Your recipe sounds like a good start on the solution to this puzzle.

Michael Ollinger

 

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Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#9 giant shrimp

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 02:36 PM

i have tried the chicken a few times, and maybe it isn't always spiced the same way?

#10 mhberk

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 03:48 PM

I grill the wait staff everytime I go and get a little more info each time. The last time I was there, I told our server that I was going to work in the kitchen on the weekends just to get the recipe. He said that it wouldn't do me any good because no one in the kitchen knows what goes in the brine. Apperantly, Frank makes the brine himself and he is the only one that knows what goes in it. The only thing our server DOES know is that it is brined for 24 hours. Once an order comes in, the chicken is first seared in a pan and then placed in a "hot" oven (he didn't know what the temp was, but I'm assuming that it >400 degrees).

After our last visit (2 weeks ago), I found Patrick O'Connell's brine recipe and tried that (this was posted on eG Forums):

"BRINED CHICKEN from Patrick O’Connell,
found in NYT 12-22-99

serves 4-5; Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus overnight brining

My notes: This recipe imparts a wonderful taste to the fowl; used on both chicken and Turkey. Time must be adjusted for the size of the bird. Used on parts do not follow timing here or it becomes too salty. For the turkey (fresh, organic, free range), I multiplied the recipe and used a picnic cooler which I left outdoors in the chill Fall air. Worked fine.

BRINE:
½ cup kosher salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup honey
3 sprigs each parsley, dill, thyme, tarragon, sage
1 sprig rosemary
1 Tbs mustard seeds
1 Tbs fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 large bay leaves
4 cloves
½ Tbs juniper berries
½ Tbs cardamom pods
1 Tbs black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved and squeezed lightly
3 star anise
½ Tbs whole allspice
CHICKEN:
3-4 lb chicken
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced onion
2 Tbs butter, melted

1. Large stockpot or roasting pan that holds chicken in one piece: bring 1 gallon to a boil; remove from heat, add all brine ingredients, stir. Cool to room temperature. (Of course you can substitute a ziplock for the pan once the brine cools.)

2. Add chicken to pan. Cover, refrigerate overnight.

From here you can substitute your own favorite way of roasting the bird, but I give you O'Connell's instructions for completeness:

3. Drain chicken well, discard brine. Cut off and discard wing tips. Preheat oven to 350f. Roasting pan: place carrot, celery, onion. Place chicken on top of veggies. Brush chicken with melted butter.

4. Roast chicken til thigh joint temperature reaches 150f, about 1 hour. Baste with pan juices at least every 15 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. If parts become well browned, cover with foil. When chicken is done remove from oven. Allow it to rest at least 10 minutes before carving. (depends on size of bird, of course)"




This was VERY similar to what I've had at Palena (minus the crispy skin, but I'm working on that). My only variation would be to multiply the water by 0.75, multiply the salt by 1.5 and brine it for 24 hours instead of 12 or overnight. And of course I cut the chicken in half and brined the two halves instead of brining and cooking it whole.

Let me know what you guys think!

Edited by mhberk, 16 December 2005 - 03:50 PM.

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#11 bilrus

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:31 PM

This was VERY similar to what I've had at Palena (minus the crispy skin, but I'm working on that). 

To get a crisp skin, try the Zuni Cafe trick of letting it airdry in the refirgerator of a day or so.
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#12 mhberk

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 06:04 PM

To get a crisp skin, try the Zuni Cafe trick of letting it airdry in the refirgerator of a day or so.

I remember watching Iron Chef Sakai dry out the skin of a duck by sitting in front of a fan (or cold air blow dryer) for 20 minutes. I was thinking about trying that.
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#13 zoramargolis

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 06:28 PM

I have had the chicken, when the herb flavor is primarily tarragon. Other times, not. So I suspect he changes the brine recipe periodically.

Here's my theory, though. Rather than simply immersing the bird in the brine--I THINK HE INJECTS IT. The flavor goes all the way to the bone in a way that I have only been able to achieve with injecting brine/marinade. Also, it's possible to inject a bird and airdry it over night, so you are getting both the deep flavor and the skin dry enough to get crisp in the oven.

#14 Al Dente

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 10:04 AM

Here's my theory, though. Rather than simply immersing the bird in the brine--I THINK HE INJECTS IT. The flavor goes all the way to the bone in a way that I have only been able to achieve with injecting brine/marinade. Also, it's possible to inject a bird and airdry it over night, so you are getting both the deep flavor and the skin dry enough to get crisp in the oven.

What about rather than injecting it, the chicken is cooked sous vide then roasted to crisp the skin? This is the suspicion of a chef friend of mine.

Michael Ollinger

 

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#15 zoramargolis

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:10 AM

What about rather than injecting it, the chicken is cooked sous vide then roasted to crisp the skin? This is the suspicion of a chef friend of mine.

It's a very interesting theory, but the more I think about it, the more doubts I have. As I understand it, sous vide is essentially a form of poaching or steaming the food gently in its own juices without any evaporation or diluting of the juices into a larger liquid medium. Roasting is entirely different, with hot air cooking, evaporating fluids and concentrating the flavors. Brining is a technique used to counter the drying effect of the roasting method. I don't think that chicken skin that has previously been cooked in a sous vide pouch would crisp up as uniformly as Palena roast chicken does. Unless it were just partially cooked sous vide and then roasted. Even so, the skin would be wet and steamed before it went into the roasting oven. But frankly, I question all the extra work that would entail. First brining, then vacuum-packing and cooking sous vide, then roasting. I think he injects it with brine, stores the chickens uncovered overnight in the refrigerator to dry the skin --maybe with a fan blowing on them (or dries the skin and THEN injects the brine into the meat), perhaps gives the skin an extra blast of drying air with a hair dryer and then roasts it in a fairly hot oven or convection oven. Think Peking duck technique. Crackling skin, melting meat. Has anyone been in the kitchen to see whether he has one of those Peking duck ovens where the bird is suspended vertically? Remember, it takes forty-five minutes to get the roast chicken when you order it. That's how long it takes to roast a (raw) chicken in a hot oven.

Edited by zoramargolis, 02 January 2006 - 11:15 AM.


#16 mdt

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 10:38 PM

It's a very interesting theory, but the more I think about it, the more doubts I have. As I understand it, sous vide is essentially a form of poaching or steaming the food gently in its own juices without any evaporation or diluting of the juices into a larger liquid medium. Roasting is entirely different, with hot air cooking, evaporating fluids and concentrating the flavors. Brining is a technique used to counter the drying effect of the roasting method. I don't think that chicken skin that has previously been cooked in a sous vide pouch would crisp up as uniformly as Palena roast chicken does. Unless it were just partially cooked sous vide and then roasted. Even so, the skin would be wet and steamed before it went into the roasting oven.

If I remember correctly the duck breast at Citronelle is cooked sous vide and had a wonderfully crisp skin. Not proof of Chef Ruta's process, but proof that one can produce a crisp skin with this technique.

#17 zoramargolis

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:15 PM

If I remember correctly the duck breast at Citronelle is cooked sous vide and had a wonderfully crisp skin.  Not proof of Chef Ruta's process, but proof that one can produce a crisp skin with this technique.

I believe that is done by putting the previously sous vide cooked duck breast skin side down in a very hot skillet until the skin is crisped. In her book. _The Cooking of Southwest France_ Paula Wolfert describes sous vide confit of duck legs, which can have the skin browned in a 400 degree oven. Hmmm.

#18 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 02:08 AM

I believe that is done by putting the previously sous vide cooked duck breast skin side down in a very hot skillet until the skin is crisped. In her book. _The Cooking of Southwest France_ Paula Wolfert describes sous vide confit of duck legs, which can have the skin browned in a 400 degree oven. Hmmm.

From the peanut gallery, let me point out that Costco sells a remarkably convenient and inexpensive two-pack of sous vide "roast" duck halves (each with an atrocious packet of "orange sauce" that is easily discarded) that crisps up nicely in the oven. QED.

Dave Hsu
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#19 zoramargolis

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:53 AM

From the peanut gallery, let me point out that Costco sells a remarkably convenient and inexpensive two-pack of sous vide "roast" duck halves (each with an atrocious packet of "orange sauce" that is easily discarded) that crisps up nicely in the oven.  QED.

I don't think these qualify as "sous vide"-- I've had this product, and I believe that it is roasted conventionally and then vacuum packed, not vacuum sealed when raw and then cooked at very low temp, which is what sous vide is.

#20 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:24 PM

I don't think these qualify as "sous vide"-- I've had this product, and I believe that it is roasted conventionally and then vacuum packed, not vacuum sealed when raw and then cooked at very low temp, which is what sous vide is.

Hmmm, I think you may be right. My first impressions were based on the retained juicyness and relative lack of browning, but upon carefully examining a package in my fridge it seems to me that the exposed bones do look somewhat roasted. Apologies for contributing non-information.

Note to self: I must visit Palena to try this chicken...

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#21 jm chen

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 04:21 PM

Got a nice crispy skin on a non-brined chicken this weekend, roasting at 450. The feel of the skin was pretty similar to the Palena chicken, first time I've done so at home. Patted the skin dry, rubbed it with oil, left it alone on high heat. Not as thin as Ruta's, but I'm not sure whether that's method or product.
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#22 tanabutler

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 07:27 PM

This forum is awesome. You guys are so knowledgeable and helpful. I blame your leader.

#23 Barbara

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 08:04 PM

I blame your leader.

As well you should. :)

#24 mhberk

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 10:59 AM

I tried to make it again last weekend (Christmas weekend) with some half chickens I bought at Whole Foods. I made a few modifications to the brine recipe that I listed in my previous post and it came out VERY, VERY similar to Palena's as far as flavor and juiciness!

As far as the roasting method, I took the chickens out of the brine earlier in the day. I then let them sit in the refridgerator, uncovered, for 7 hours. When it came time to roast them, I started by setting my oven at 500 for 30 minutes. After the oven had been at 500 for 30 minutes, I placed the chicken on a bed of mirepoix, 1/4 cup chicken stock, and a 1/4 w. wine and placed it in the oven. After 20 minutes, I turned the oven down to 425 and continued cooking for another 45 minutes (these Whole Foods chickens were much bigger than the average half chicken). The skin was a little darker than "golden brown", but I think it was just the carmalization from the honey. I retained the juices and drippings as a dipping sauce for my guests and even served the mirepoix as a vegetable for those that wanted it (you'd be amazed at the flavor of the mirepoix from the drippings).

Since the chickens were so big, we had leftovers. In fact, my wife just finished her chicken last night (almost a week and a half after they were prepared) and she was still amazed. As I was placing it in the pan to cook it, I could still hear the crackling of the skin as I pressed on it (even after sitting in my fridge for over a week!).

Has anyone else tried the recipe that I listed?
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#25 ulysses

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 11:15 AM

Try using cinnamon, nutmeg and anise in your brine(equal parts sugar and salt). Soak the bird for 24 to 48 hours, dry in the refridgerator for 3 or 4. Now try applying some of judy rogers technique by patting the bird dry and salting the skin pretty liberally. This part is important: use peanut or grapeseed oil, preferably the latter b/c it wont impart as much flavor. Youll never achieve the skin that you want before olive oil burns. After the skin goes brown(which takes some time) throw the pan in the oven and finish the bird. Make sure to let it rest for 5-10 minutes and you should find that this is about as close as anyone can get to Chef Rutas chicken.

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#26 Al Dente

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 11:19 AM

mhberk, you're doing god's work.

if i have enough time, i'm going to give your tips a shot this weekend and document the results.

chef ruta, we're on to you!

Michael Ollinger

 

Fox News: We read the chain emails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.

 

Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#27 mhberk

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 11:40 AM

mhberk, you're doing god's work.

if i have enough time, i'm going to give your tips a shot this weekend and document the results.

chef ruta, we're on to you!

Let me know how it goes.

The variations that I made were to use 1 1/2 cups of salt and sugar (instead of the ratio that was in the recipe). But I think I'll bump the salt up to 2 cups next time. I also used 4 sprigs of all (including the rosemary) the fresh herbs and I tore them into smaller pieces. And for the dry ingredients, I used a mortar & pestle (just as Suzanne Goin did on "How to Cook Everything") to release the flavors and oils. A food processor can be substituted for the mortar & pestle using the pulse mode.

It's good eats!!
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#28 Al Dente

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 03:09 PM

Step one of my attempt to scale Mt Palena is complete. The brine:

½ cup kosher salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup honey
½ tbl dried thyme
1 tbl fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 large bay leaves
5 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1 tbl mixed peppercorns
½ tbl whole allspice
1 tbl vanilla extract
2 tbl chopped parsley
1 tbl tarragon
zest of 1 lemon
3 star anise
1 gallon H2O

The brine is cooling and I have an organic 5 lb chicken chillin' in the fridge. The chicken was from Eastern Market.
chicken_man.jpg

Here is the brine...
brine.jpg

Next step, cut out the chicken back, split in two, and toss in the brine overnight.

Michael Ollinger

 

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Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#29 Al Dente

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:47 PM

Step 2, hack up the bird...

chicken.jpg

And drop in the brine for night's rest...

brining.jpg

The brine smells great-- almost tea-like. If I can make it 1/2 as well as Palena, I'll be happy. :)

Michael Ollinger

 

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Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#30 Barbara

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 07:37 PM

Step 2, hack up the bird...

chicken.jpg

And drop in the brine for night's rest...

brining.jpg

The brine smells great-- almost tea-like. If I can make it 1/2 as well as Palena, I'll be happy. :)

You go, Boy!

#31 Al Dente

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 08:46 PM

So, ready to eat?

First up, my world famous couscous. Okay, maybe not "my" couscous, but my wife digs the stuff.

couscous.jpg

The chicken is ready to go in the oven. I set it at 375.

ready_to_roast.jpg

After 45 mins, I cranked up the broiler and kept an eye on it.

chicken.jpg

Dinner is served.

dinner.jpg

I couldn't help but pull a Rockwellian move. Think I'll be in the Post soon?
(hat by Al Dente's wife's closet, gloves by Rubbermaid)

IMG_0591.JPG

Critique: I used too much vanilla, but it definitely needs to be in there. I think I should use 1/2 what I put in. Also, it needs more salt. And I think the sugar and honey leaves too much of a chance for over-carmelization. Here is my revised brine.

Revised BRINE:
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
½ tbl dried thyme
1 tbl fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 large bay leaves
5 cloves
6 cardamom pods
2 tbl mixed peppercorns
½ tbl whole allspice
1/2 tbl vanilla extract
2 tbl chopped parsley
1 tbl tarragon
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 star anise
1 gallon H2O

The mirepoix helped with the flavor, and I ate some of it when it was done. I had a 5 lb chicken and used 2 medium carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and a 1/2 a large red onion.

Edited by Al Dente, 08 January 2006 - 08:52 PM.

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Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#32 Barbara

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 08:51 PM

Yeah, but HOW DID IT TASTE?????

#33 Al Dente

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:01 PM

Yeah, but HOW DID IT TASTE?????

Sheesh, forgot the most important part. It was damn good. Very juicy, and the flavors were certainly Palena-ish. Like I said though, I over did it on the vanilla, but I'm certain it should be there in some capacity. I think increasing the peppercorns will help to give it a bit more bite. I think having the star anise, fennel seed, and tarragon is necessary to give it that anise kick.

All in all, it was probably one of the best roast chickens I've ever done. I need to roast it differently in order to get more crispiness in the skin. All that sugar and honey burned the skin slightly in a few spots, so lowering the sugar content should help. Perhaps I need to let it dry in the fridge longer than the 6 hours or so I allowed. I also think something might be missing-- something with an earthy spiciness. Not sure what though at this point. Maybe cumin, but I don't think it needs that smoky quality. More allspice? More cardamom?

It's someone else's turn now. All I ask is that you take a picture of yourself and your chicken similar to mine above :) .

Michael Ollinger

 

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Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#34 mhberk

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 10:16 PM

I need to roast it differently in order to get more crispiness in the skin. All that sugar and honey burned the skin slightly in a few spots, so lowering the sugar content should help.

Al,

Perhaps it might help if you start out with hot oven (450-500 degrees) and then lower it after 20 minutes or so. This will sear the skin and allow it to crisp before the fat starts to roll off. It will maintain its crisp even when the temp is lowered. This has been my experience. The color of my chicken was also more consistant throughout the exterior of the skin using this method.

Also, when you say the skin burned, did it taste burnt or was it just the appearance? When I did mine, it had the appearance of being over-cooked, but it tasted fine.

BTW, what was your inspiration for your recipe?
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#35 Al Dente

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 10:21 PM

Al,

Perhaps it might help if you start out with hot oven (450-500 degrees) and then lower it after 20 minutes or so.  This will sear the skin and allow it to crisp before the fat starts to roll off.  It will maintain its crisp even when the temp is lowered.  This has been my experience.  The color of my chicken was also more consistant throughout the exterior of the skin using this method.

Also, when you say the skin burned, did it taste burnt or was it just the appearance?  When I did mine, it had the appearance of being over-cooked, but it tasted fine. 

BTW, what was your inspiration for your recipe?

It looked a little burned in a couple of spots, but didn't taste like it. The inspiration was your recipe pretty much-- but with a little tweaking. It was definitely a good starting off point.

Michael Ollinger

 

Fox News: We read the chain emails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.

 

Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#36 jm chen

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:40 AM

Perhaps I need to let it dry in the fridge longer than the 6 hours or so I allowed.

There's a suggestion upthread about multiple days of drying. That might do the trick.

Thanks for performing the experiment and posting the results! I might make the attempt, but first, looks like I will have to purchase some gloves for the photo-essay requirement portion.
Jael

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cooking up a storm: the SIMMER blog

#37 Darth Tater

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:46 AM

It looked a little burned in a couple of spots, but didn't taste like it. The inspiration was your recipe pretty much-- but with a little tweaking. It was definitely a good starting off point.

Question--how would the cooking times and temps change if one were to do this recipe with a whole chicken? Or is absolutely essential to cut it in half?

My primary concern with roasting the chicken whole is that I typically start the chicken out on high heat, breast side down so as not to over cook the tender white meat before the legs are done. Would that ruin the crispy skin we're looking to attain though?

Thanks for all your hard work on this project.

#38 mhberk

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:12 AM

My primary concern with roasting the chicken whole is that I typically start the chicken out on high heat, breast side down so as not to over cook the tender white meat before the legs are done.  Would that ruin the crispy skin we're looking to attain though?

Darth,

The recipe that I used was from Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine : The Inn at Little Washington . I first saw this recipe on the internet and it called for a whole chicken and it is cooked as a whole chicken. (You can find my earlier post here) When I saw his book at Borders, I noticed that he had the same recipe but this time he called for a whole turkey instead of a chicken.

I think Al has inspired me to make it again and document it with pictures this time.
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#39 Darth Tater

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:20 PM

Darth,

The recipe that I used was from Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine : The Inn at Little Washington . I first saw this recipe on the internet and it called for a whole chicken and it is cooked as a whole chicken. (You can find my earlier post here) When I saw his book at Borders, I noticed that he had the same recipe but this time he called for a whole turkey instead of a chicken.

I think Al has inspired me to make it again and document it with pictures this time.

So I shouldn't bother with starting the chicken breast side down then? The recipe you reference utilizes relatively low temp cooking, but my understanding is yours and others efforts for the Palena-like crisp skin require much higher heat (at least initially).

#40 mhberk

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:28 PM

So I shouldn't bother with starting the chicken breast side down then?  The recipe you reference utilizes relatively low temp cooking, but my understanding is yours and others efforts for the Palena-like crisp skin require much higher heat (at least initially).

Well, again, that's how Patrick O'Connell does his. When I made it, I used halves. I would suggest (if you plan on making it whole) to put the oven rack in the middle to lower rack position and then make it as you would your turkey on Thanksgiving. Let the oven heat up to 450-500 degrees for 20 minutes before you stick it in and then bake it at 450-500 for the first 15-20 minutes. Then lower to the lower temp.

Just my suggestion
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#41 squidsdc

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 09:36 PM

FWIW, I do know that Palena's chicken has garlic in it, so you may want to add that when you "tweak" the recipe. :)

Edited by squidsdc, 10 January 2006 - 09:37 PM.

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#42 mhberk

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:27 PM

dinner.jpg

Al,

How'd you make your brussell sprouts? They look great!!
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#43 Darth Tater

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 09:21 AM

In trying to gather all the ingredients to make this brine, I have had no luck finding star anise--none at the regular grocery stores or Whole Foods. Is star anise a must-have for the brine, or could I replace it with regular old anise seeds? Or does anyone know where I might be able to pick up some star anise?

thanks

#44 mdt

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 09:26 AM

In trying to gather all the ingredients to make this brine, I have had no luck finding star anise--none at the regular grocery stores or Whole Foods.  Is star anise a must-have for the brine, or could I replace it with regular old anise seeds?  Or does anyone know where I might be able to pick up some star anise?

thanks

Info on star anise here. I don't really agree with their assesment of it being a much stronger regular anise as it has a much more warm and cinammon like component too.

Anyway I have bought it recently at Shopper's Food Warehouse.

#45 Demetrius

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 09:32 AM

I would strongly suggest Penzeys. Check out their website below.

http://www.penzeys.com/

#46 Tweaked

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 10:14 AM

In trying to gather all the ingredients to make this brine, I have had no luck finding star anise--none at the regular grocery stores or Whole Foods.  Is star anise a must-have for the brine, or could I replace it with regular old anise seeds?  Or does anyone know where I might be able to pick up some star anise?

thanks

If you live near the Hill, the Yes Gourmet has star anise in the bulk food section in the back. In fact their bulk food section is pretty damn good for such a small grocery store.

Edited by Tweaked, 12 January 2006 - 10:15 AM.

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#47 Mrs. B

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 10:22 AM

In trying to gather all the ingredients to make this brine, I have had no luck finding star anise--none at the regular grocery stores or Whole Foods.  Is star anise a must-have for the brine, or could I replace it with regular old anise seeds?  Or does anyone know where I might be able to pick up some star anise?

thanks

Large bags are usually available at the little Vietnamese grocer on Park Road between 14th & 15th NW.

#48 RaisaB

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 10:24 AM

Al,

Perhaps it might help if you start out with hot oven (450-500 degrees) and then lower it after 20 minutes or so.  This will sear the skin and allow it to crisp before the fat starts to roll off.  It will maintain its crisp even when the temp is lowered.  This has been my experience.  The color of my chicken was also more consistant throughout the exterior of the skin using this method.

Also, when you say the skin burned, did it taste burnt or was it just the appearance?  When I did mine, it had the appearance of being over-cooked, but it tasted fine. 

BTW, what was your inspiration for your recipe?

Okay, I have never had Palena's chicken but I am intrigued. I am off to the store to buy a couple of chickens and the rest of the ingredients. Do you buy a roasting chicken or a couple of good sizes regular chickens. I will be going to Trader Joes in Centreville for them.
I will be doing this over the weekend in North Carolina, internet is sketchy there, so my question is on the baking part. On a convection oven wouldn't you just leave the temperature levels constant, albeit slower, and then at the end blast it if you need a cripier skin?

#49 Al Dente

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 10:43 AM

If you live near the Hill, the Yes Gourmet has star anise in the bulk food section in the back.  In fact their bulk food section is pretty damn good for such a small grocery store.

That's where I got mine.

Michael Ollinger

 

Fox News: We read the chain emails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.

 

Seafood! The Mercedes of food!


#50 sparkycom

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:16 PM

I get my star anise (and other goodies) at Da Hua (I think that's the name) in DC Chinatown. It's on H St. between 6th & 7th as I recall....

Edited by sparkycom, 12 January 2006 - 12:21 PM.

Debra Mayberry




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