The white lace on the trees is beautiful this morning. The first snow of the season, and I’m grateful for the wonderland. It reminds me that Thanksgiving is almost here.
Today we have an elegant, unique kind of entrée that you could use for your dinner if you want to prepare something a little different. I’m thankful for Dale’s creative entrée idea, and I think you’ll be thankful too.
Roasted Chicken with Calvados and Apples
The grocer had roasting chickens, two for the price of one today, so I thought it would be the right time to talk about roasting. When roasting, air is the conductor of heat, as well as when you saute. And, of course,water is the conductor when you boil food. While the inside of many (not all) foods you cook will be more or less similar regardless of which method you use, the outside of food will be vastly different with each cooking method.
Roasting is by far the easiest method of cooking. All that needs to be done is: turn on the oven, put the food on a roasting rack and pull it out when it is done. You can make all kinds of variations on that, but basically that is all there is to it.
It is important that the food (meat, vegetables or whatever) not be sitting in fat; if it is, you end up frying the bottom of the food and roasting the top. Frying is a good method of cooking, but frying food for the length of time that is needed to roast, will result in a greasy hard piece of inedible food. All of that means that you put the food on some type of rack. You can find roasting pans with a rack in many stores, but a broiling pan works well, as does a cooling rack on a sheet pan.
Some recipes call for the food to be browned first on top of the stove. That is a cosmetic step that you can use when the roasting time is short. Some recipes call for searing meat in a very hot oven for a few minutes before finishing a normal roasting temperature, to seal in juices. Whether or not searing accomplishes that is debatable. Another common but questionable practice is basting. If you should put a lid or foil or a bag over food, it ceases to be roasting and becomes braising. So why roast if all of these other methods will achieve similar resultls?
You choose to roast when you want the food to be moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
You can roast any chicken, but those labeled as “roasting chicken” will be moister than a fryer. All that said, let’s have some fun!
For the Chicken You will need:
1 Roasting Chicken 1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Apple 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
Canola Oil 2 Tablespoon Salt
Calvados apple brandy 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Dry the chicken inside and out. This is really important to achieve crispness.
3. Rub the chicken, inside and out with canola oil.
4. Mix the thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Then rub the inside and outside of the chicken with the spice mixture.
5. Roughly chop the apple; there is no need to peel or core it. Place it inside the chicken.
1. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a roasting rack and slide it into the oven.
2. After forty minutes, turn the chicken to where the breast side is down.
3. Roast until a thermometer reads 175 degrees. Cooking time will vary from 1 to 1/2 hours depending upon the size of the bird.
4. When done, take the chicken out of the oven, loosely cover it in aluminum foil and let it rest 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while resting.
5. Carve the chicken in the kitchen, not the dining room, unless you’re a master carver. The carving is a little easier if you cut the wing, thigh and leg joints with kitchen shears.
For the Sauce
2 Apples 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Salt 2 Tablespoons Calvados
1 1/2 cups of Apple Juice or Cider
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1. Peel, core and slice the apples. You can use any variety of apples in this recipe, but something tart like Granny Smith or Mackintosh works very well.
2. Stir the corn starch into the apple juice.
1. Saute the apple slices in butter until they are just a little soft; about 2 minutes.
2. Pour the apple juice and cornstarch into the saute pan and liet it thicken.
3. Season with the salt, black pepper, Calvados (Apple Brandy) and brown sugar.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. We want the sauce to be slightly sweet to contrast with the salt and garlic on the chicken, but not as sweet as you would have it for an apple dessert. Pay close attention to the balance of the black pepper to the sweetness of the other ingredients. We want to use enough pepper to get a slight tingle on the back of the throat after you have swallowed discriminately. This is where the magic happens.
5. After you have divided the chicken among the dinner plates, pour large spoonfuls of the sauce on top of the meat.
Food for Thought:
Remembering to be Thankful in a Crazy World
So many problems in the world—wars everywhere, so many difficulties in relationships, finances, jobs, health—Why should I be thankful?
My husband grew up in a family that was constantly expressing their appreciation, saying thank you for any help or thoughtful gesture. But my family was not that quick to express appreciation. As a result, I’ve had to work hard to remember to thank my husband. When I do, it helps Bob feel at home, comfortable and secure.
Sometimes I don’t feel like being thankful. There’s conflicts in the family; my blood pressure shoots out of control; I’m down on myself because I made silly mistakes on the piano during the concert; I’m having trouble with my self-discipline. I simply can’t keep control of my life.
But you know what I discovered anew this morning? That making a list of the difficult things that are happening and asking God to show me where there’s hidden reasons for thanksgiving in them turns up surprising causes for praise.
For example, when there’s trouble, I’m always driven to spend extended time with God, listening, and He’s always there to give me guidance and insight. Then I revel in His presence.
Even though I worry when an elderly friend who just retired shares she doesn’t have any friends, the fact that she tells me spurs me on to mention her need to her friends at church. They respond with eager assurances they will call her. And I am alerted to be more attentive too. Thank you, Lord.
Thanksgiving and praise can change a person’s life, not only yours but others.
One time a friend who had critiqued a friend’s manuscript told the author that her parents had been reading the published book and said the author was a genius. The author was gratified to hear that, but her friend went on to say, “I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid it would go to your head.”
The author was chagrinned. She had a low sense of self-worth and desperately needed encouragement, and her friend was afraid to give it.
William James says “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
And God desires our praise, not because He needs it, but because he knows we need it. Lloyd John Ogilvie in his book Praying with Power says: “Tell God what he means to you, pour out your heart in unhurried exultation. . . Allow him to remind you of aspects of his nature you need to claim in your susbsequent steps of prayer.”
Dr. Ogilvie’s practical suggestion is this: Read a Psalm daily for two weeks. Try Psalms 95 through 108. It will reestablish your trust in God’s power and all knowing love. Your heart will begin to rejoice again.