Friday, November 9, 2012

Mohonk inspired Roast Chicken with Dijon and Parsley Seasoning and the Reason a Roasted Chicken means comfort!

Fall is in the air here in New York. Actually one could say it's flying through the air what with Hurricane Sandy and then the storm that even as I write this is beating at my windows with the first snow fall of the year. I suppose that if we had not just endured the blackouts and the flooding this would just be a big messy storm. But I think everyone is a little bit on edge about the weather.

Fall still remains my favorite time of year. Recently I had the chance to go hiking up at Mohonk with A. It was fall and the leaves had turned half way to colors, the air was cool and crisp. It was stunning!  Mohonk for those of you who don't know is an old Quaker resort and camp which was founded by a Quaker family at the turn of the last century. It is a majestic old hotel set on top of a small mountain which has a crater lake at it's center. It's actually quite the resort these days with a top of the notch spa and a 4 star resort rating. Aside from the hotel itself and the gardens around the property it has winding hiking trails all over the property and into the land reserve next door And there are gazebos everywhere. Yes gazebos! Made of the timbers and branches of the forests that surround them. It really is so  beautiful! It is a peaceful place and affords you the opportunity to meditate and get away from the world a little. A cause the original Quaker owners championed!

                                              This is Mohonk Mountain House

                                            This one of the many gazebos with a vista

So over the years Mohonk has slowly changed from a very conservative and family oriented vacation spot to a more upscale and chic destination. Not that all that much is different. But they do serve alcohol now in a lounge and dinner comes with a option for wine. But the dinning experience at Mohonk remains an interesting experience. For years it featured a large dinning hall and family style meals centered around the idea of breaking bread together and creating community. Now that had been somewhat updated but the seating is still very communal and the vibe is very friendly.

Now you might ask what does Mohonk and roast chicken have to do with one another. Well only that one of the so called heritage meals there is a roast chicken half, served with "marbled" potatoes and onions. And when the fireplace is roaring and the mood is festive you eat that chicken dinner and you recognize why people associate a roast chicken dinner as the homey meal number one in the world. It just feels like comfort and home.

At my house roasting a bird in the oven is a lovely thing! The house fills with wonderful aromas and the warmth of the oven gives the house a toasty goodness wrapped in flavors you can smell. I have decided to find the perfect recipe for roasting chicken this year. So as part of this project, I started to think about how to give a chicken the same attention we give a turkey. And I came up with the brining method of soaking the bird over night in a solution designed to plump up the bird's taste. But that's a commitment and what if you don't have the time? So I thought why not slather the bird with a marinade and let it sit in the fridge a few hours and then roast it. Not exactly brining, but the skin will take in the flavors from slathering it with a marinade and then baking it after it's stood awhile in the fridge to marinate seemed smart. I also wanted to try something other than the "slather it with butter" method so common with roast chicken. It was really good!

So that's what I did and it came out so well I may never make chicken another way again. It's delish. So without further adieu I give you the recipe for your fall table, enjoy Ya'll!

Forrest Ultimate Roast Chicken with Dijon and Parsley Sauce

A couple of notes.

1) I used a 7 pound bird for this you could use 2 smaller ones to feed 4 to 6 people
2) I used Herb de Provence as my herbs
3) I bought a really really strong dijon mustard for this recipe
4) you could brine your chicken overnight in a solution but I did not have the time, it would probably             add a lot to the bird's overall flavor

This recipe could not be easier

Step one:

In a small bowl stir together till it forms a green thick but viscus paste

4 heaping Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup dried parsley leaves
2 Tablespoons Black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons Herbs of your choice dried ( I tried Herbs de Provence for that French flair)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons rosemary flavored oil ( if you don't have this just increase the regular olive oil
salt to taste

Step two:  wash and clean your chicken then salt and pepper generously inside and out
Step three:  slather chicken well with the sauce
Step four:  place chicken wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 2 hours
Step five: bring out and let come to room temp  and salt and pepper it again
Step six: Heat oven to 375 bake chicken in middle of oven for 60 mins then reduce heat to 350 and  bake for another 30 mins check to see if the leg moves freely to see if it's done
Remove from oven let rest at least 15 mins then carve and serve

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