Chicken is filthy. You have to worry about cross-contamination, salmonella, e-coli, and food poisoning. After you touch it, you have to wash your hands. Anything that touches raw chicken has to be instantly sequestered and then power-washed with specific particularity. The only other thing in my daily life that I have to be that careful about is feces. And I don’t ever want to eat feces. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would stop cooking chicken, at least for a while. But then, last week, I was watching an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef where Anne Burrell was making roasted garlic chicken. It looked so irresistibly good, I broke my chicken boycott.
- Roast the garlic: I set the oven to 375. And then I took two garlic bulbs and put them in my mini casserole dish. I didn’t put oil in them or anything. And I didn’t peel them. I just put them in there and shut the door for about 30 minutes.
- Mash the garlic: After about 30 minutes, I set the garlic bulbs on a cutting board to cool. After about 5 minutes, they were cool to the touch. I then cut the tops off and squeezed them into my tiny food processor. It was like popping an enormous, stinky zit. The roasted garlic was squishy and nuclear hot. I was quite enthusiastic about the results. I had never roasted a bulb of garlic before.
- Add some herbs, spices: Anne Burrell’s recipe called for all sorts of things like saffron. I don’t have saffron, so I skipped it. Then, I eyeballed some thyme, pepper, and a ton of pepper.
- Add some acid: I squeezed in half a lemon.
- Add some fat: I poured in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Whiz: I closed the lid on the food processor and blended it all up until it got smooth with chunks.
- Brown the chicken: While the garlic was roasting, I put four chicken thighs in a pan that I had heated up with some duck fat. The duck fat isn’t required, but I happened to have it on hand since I roasted a duck last week.
- Top the chicken: I then set the chicken into my mini casserole and poured the garlic marinade on top. Anne Burrell’s original recipe requires you to make the marinade and put it on the raw chicken for at least an hour. I just don’t have that kind of time. I cooked the chicken first and then put on the marinade.
- Bake the chicken: 375 for 30 minutes.
- Chop up veggies: While the chicken was browning, I chopped up some celery stalks, onion, and one yellow squash.
- Deglaze the pan: I took the chicken out of the pan and set it aside. I then drained off the excess fat from the pan and threw in the onions and celery. After about a minute, I then poured in a couple glugs of white wine to help scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan.
- Make the couscous: I use instant from a box.
- Add the yellow squash: After the celery and onions got soft and had absorbed some of the wine, I added the yellow squash.
- Mix: once the couscous was done and the yellow squash was cooked through, I mixed the two. Then, once the chicken was done, I took the drippings and added them to the couscous mix.
Overall, I was quite pleased with how the dish turned out. I was most surprised by the couscous. I usually don’t mix vegetables into my couscous, probably because I had always hated it when my mom would add beans to the rice we ate with dinner. But this was marvelous. Plus, the drippings from the chicken seemed to be super concentrated with lemon flavor. This really made the couscous an interesting surprise to eat.