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Roast Chicken and Chocolate Mousse

There is nothing homier than a dinner of roast chicken and potatoes. Mark Bittman’s recipe is beyond simple: preheat oven with a pan, coat the chicken with oil, salt and pepper, stick the chicken in the plan and cook till done. I followed the recommended cooking times and I thought the chicken was overcooked – I guess it’s really my fault, I could have checked the temperature on the chicken earlier. I think the chicken skin could have been crispier, but I added garlic and thyme to the recipe and there was good flavor. Even better were my potatoes; I tossed Yukon golds in EVOO and seasoning and roasted them in a 400 degree oven till fork tender. The skin was crispy and the insides were creamy.
 
Easy was the name of the game for dinner – the chocolate mousse I made was also simple, delicious and needs to be made ahead of time, so it’s perfect for a small dinner party. I added instant espresso powder to boost up the coffee flavor.
 
Simplest Roast Chicken
 
Yield 4 servings
Time 50 to 60 minutes
 
Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Method
1. Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Coat chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper
2. When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155 to 165 degrees.
3. Tip the pan to let the juices flow from the chicken’s cavity into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Carve and serve.
 
Chocolate Mousse
 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Fruit, nuts, cookies or whipped cream, for serving, optional
 
Directions:
Special Equipment: 4 (6 to 8-ounce) individual serving dishes

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler setup.
While the chocolate is melting, in a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat, with a hand-held mixer, until very pale and thick and have doubled in size. Whisk in the coffee liqueur. When the chocolate has melted, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture.
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Using 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time, fold the cream into the chocolate mixture. Repeat this process until all the cream is incorporated. Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour.
Garnish with fruit, nuts, cookies or whipped cream.
 

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