Glazed Chicken with Porcini and Crisp Potatoes
Roast chickens are showing up all over the place. Mark Bittman of the New York Times wrote about a lovely Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey, and Orange I can’t wait to try. Nick over at The Paupered Chef wrote of a tempting Roast Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croutons, which I may cook just to eat the croutons. And the March issue of Gourmet Magazine featured a lovely multi-course meal starring Roast Chicken Glazed with Porcini, Honey, and Marsala.
Glazing the Chicken
As I continued our quest to empty out the freezer before Spring, roast chicken seemed like the perfect way to take a break from lamb shanks and short ribs. Since I had been itching to make a mushroom soup “cappuccino” for months the Gourmet recipe won out, leading to a delightful mushroom themed meal. I previously determined that fresh porcini mushrooms simply do not exist in my town, so using a recipe that called for dried porcinis made sense. The resulting chicken had a beautifully crisp skin with a moist and juicy interior. Our favorite part was the pan sauce, which uses white wine vinegar to provide tang and balance to the rich flavors of the glaze.
Cooking the Stuffing and Glaze
If you enjoy roasted chicken then this is a good recipe to try. I do, however, have a few small insights to make the meal even better the next time-
I’m not a big fan of chicken skin. Yes a crispy chicken skin can have a wonderful flavor and crackle, but after a bite or two I’m good. I just don’t like the texture and all of the fat that comes along with the skin. Since I don’t enjoy eating the skin it seems a terrible waste to put a tasty and beautiful glaze all over the chicken, only to pull it off later. This may be why my favorite roast chicken recipes involve stuffing things under the skin. The next time I make this recipe I think I will try making the glaze before the chicken goes into the oven and rub the glaze directly into the meat underneath the skin.
I cut the potato pieces WAY too big. They took forever to cook, didn’t quite reach “crispy”, and were hard to swallow. The larger pieces lost the proper ratio of stuffing to potato and ended up being rather boring. So take your time and cut the potatoes into small pieces.
Paired with a mushroom soup “cappuccino”, fresh asparagus, and a unique red wine this roast chicken will help you happily start the transition towards Spring while still hanging on to the warm comfort food of Winter.
Glazed Chicken with Porcini and Crisp Potatoes
Gourmet Magazine, March 2009
2 cups dried porcini mushrooms ( 1 3/4 ounces )
1 1/2 cups boiling-hot water plus 1/4 cup cold water
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme plus 3 whole sprigs
5 tablespoons dry Marsala, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons mild honey
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
2 1/4 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
Equipment: kitchen string
Soak porcini in hot water (1 1/2 cups) in a small bowl until well softened, 20 to 30 minutes. Lift porcini out, squeezing liquid into bowl, then rinse porcini (to remove any grit) and coarsely chop. Strain soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a damp paper towel into a small saucepan and reserve.
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Cook shallots in 2 tablespoons oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add porcini, chopped thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons Marsala and boil until most of liquid has evaporated, then remove from heat.
Add honey to soaking liquid in saucepan with thyme sprigs, remaining 2 tablespoons Marsala, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Boil until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs.
Meanwhile, remove excess fat from chicken and pat dry. Season inside and out with a rounded teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Stuff cavity with mushroom mixture and tie legs with string.
Put chicken in a small (13-by 9-inch) roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, about 1 hour. About 5 minutes before chicken is done, brush with all of honey glaze. If glaze begins to get too dark before chicken is cooked through, loosely cover with foil.
While chicken roasts, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. In cleaned nonstick skillet, heat remaining 3 1/3 tablespoons oil over medium heat, then add potatoes, stirring to coat. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and potatoes are golden brown all over, about 20 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet (do not cover).
Transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest 15 minutes. Turn off oven and put potatoes in oven to keep warm.
Meanwhile, straddle roasting pan across 2 burners and add flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth and vinegar, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Boil mixture until reduced by about a third, about 4 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
Discard kitchen string from chicken. Scoop out mushroom mixture into a bowl, stir in potatoes, and serve with chicken.
- Shallots and porcinis can be sautéed and honey glaze can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Cooked potatoes can be kept on baking sheet at room temperature up to 2 hours before reheating and serving.