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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Think Like A Chef Breakthrough!

I had originally intended this post to be a restaurant review.  I’m way behind on those.  But, I kind of had a “Think Like A Chef” breakthrough.

Last week, I was going to braise short ribs, but didn’t have the right ingredients, so instead, Cathy said, “Well, get a turkey breast and I’ll cook that.”  When I got to the store, the only turkey breasts they had were frozen.  That’s when the following conversation between me and myself took place:

 “Well, I guess I’ll just buy a cooked chicken later tonight.” 

“Wait a minute…what are you doing all these Think Like A Chef blogs for, if you aren’t going to use what you learn?  Cook something.”

“You don’t have a recipe.  Buy a cooked chicken.”

“What have I learned so far?  Mostly roasting.  I’ll roast a chicken.  I don’t need a recipe.”

“No recipe?  C’mon Mike….I mean….you can’t cook without a recipe.  Cook without a recipe??  You may as well ask Hubert Keller to hire you as his sous chef.”

“Now wait a minute.  I can’t actually ask Hubert Keller to be his sous chef…at best he’d make me a dishwasher, and I’m way too old to start a new career as a dishwasher, and anyway, I’m sure the pay isn’t very good.  But…I can actually roast a chicken without a recipe…so I’m gonna do that.”

And here are the results:

I bought a five pound chicken.  First step…into the cavity went thyme and rosemary.  That was the way Colicchio did it in the book, and the way I did it last time.  But I also decided to add half of a small onion, a couple of baby carrots and a small piece of celery as well.  My thought process here was that, many times I see people roast chickens on top of a mirepoix, so I thought, why not get some aromatics from them?

Next, trussing the chicken.  Not perfect…but better!

Next, dry the skin like crazy!  I think I went through ½ roll of paper towels drying the skin.

Then came the seasoning.  This time, I got under the skin and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  Also did the top of the bird.  Next, I browned the sides for seven minutes each, and then it went into a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes, before adding the butter/olive oil product, and basted occasionally.  Total cooking time in the oven was 75 minutes as this was a five pound bird.

Uhhh....I guess you can tell where we tried the was crispy!!

After I took it out, I steamed some broccoli, but left it ever so slightly crunchy.  Just to give it some mouth feel.

Then I plated the breast, leg, and broccoli and finished it with sea salt.

The skin was crispy.  (Cathy and I treated ourselves to a small piece.)  The chicken was incredibly juicy and full of flavor.  The broccoli was also a very good compliment to the chicken.


Now…onto those short ribs…


  1. Bravo! You thought--and cooked--like a chef! Yes...thinking and cooking like a chef doesn't always have to be fancy schmancy ingredients. In fact, getting back to basics (and mastering those) will always make your "bigger" adventures more of a success. Salt and pepper is fine (although overrated as far as "seasoning" goes). Give a try to separating the skin from the chicken using your forefinger, and place herbs between the skin and meat. You'll get some fine flavors! I give props to Hubert Keller too. Although that haircut? No thanks! :) Keep on thinking like a chef, and all of your dishes will be as great as this one....and of course----Keep on cooking!

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