Passion Project: Dry Rubbed Chicken Roast with Rosemary Potatoes

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Roasting is probably the first cooking technique I have learned for poultry. Back home, roasted chickens are one of our go-to family meals. It’s so easy, yet so good! The chicken remains juicy throughout the cooking process and this technique requires close to no effort on the cook’s part. Just toss the bird in a roasting pan with a bunch of chopped veggies, some oil or butter, and you’re good to go!

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Quite naturally, I was first tempted to share my family’s go-to roast chicken recipe… but then I thought about it again, and reminded myself of my Project’s purpose. I am here to learn new techniques, not revert to old ones! Of course, I still couldn’t resist incorporating a few of my dad’s tricks to this recipe, but I experimented with a brand new way to roast a chicken. Introducing: dry rubs! Though this kind of seasoning is common in the US, it isn’t back home.

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So I’m still new to using dry rubs and, frankly, I was quite hesitant to ditch my typical moist and flavorful marinade for a “powdery blend of spices”. There’s something inherently wrong about the name “dry rub”. It doesn’t sound enticing at all. It sounds, well… dry. And there’s nothing worse than dry meat. Not surprisingly, I was worried this mix would (inexplicably) take out all of the moisture from my delicious bird. Yet, I found out that the word “dry” is completely misleading. A dry rub doesn’t prevent your meat from being perfectly juicy and tender (silly!), it’s quite the opposite actually. It lets flavors sink in your meat before/while you cook it, and forms a crust of herbs and flavors that locks in most of the moisture.

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Before trying it out, I still wanted to find out how a dry rub works exactly. I wasn’t fully convinced and needed some sort of scientific-ish explanation. So here’s what is boils down to: dry rubs are spice blends made specifically to be massaged into raw meat before it is cooked. They are typically used with dry-heat cooking techniques, where no water/liquid is used in the process (like oven baking or grilling for example). Ok, but what’s their secret? One of the keys to rubs is that they contain salt. As it turns out, salt melts the fat on/beneath the meat’s surface, which ensures that the meat remains juicy and moist. (Note that’s also why you should ALWAYS season your meat before you cook it, not during!) Despite being “dry”, these rubs work their magic in the opposite way! So now that we’ve learned a lot, let’s experiment! Bon appétit!

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Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken leg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of “season all” rub (celery, garlic, onion, paprika…)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a good pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of brown sugar
  • 1 small garlic clove (optional)
  • a dollop of butter (optional)
  • a handful of fingerling potatoes
  • olive oil
  • a few rosemary sprigs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 400°F.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all of the spices together: season all, italian seasoning, sugar, salt, & pepper. Rub both sides of the chicken leg with the mixture, tightly wrap it in plastic and set aside 10 minutes (or up to overnight!).
  3. Rinse the potatoes and cut them in half. You can score them with the point of a sharp knife so that they absorb the oil/seasoning better! Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary leaves, and toss them around so they are well coated. Put them in a baking dish.
  4. Next, cut the garlic clove in half. Make a two small cuts in the chicken’s skin, and tuck the half cloves in between the skin and flesh. (This is one of my dad’s techniques, which allows the garlic to infuse its flavors to the meat during the cooking process!)
  5. Shake off the excess rub, and place the coated leg in the same baking dish as the potatoes. You can add a dollop of butter on top of the chicken right as you place it in the oven.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, tossing the potatoes around once halfway through. The chicken will be cooked when it releases clear juices as you prick it with a knife.
  7. Drizzle both the chicken and potatoes with the cooking jus and rosemary oil from the dish. Enjoy!

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Temps Total: 60 minutes

Ingrédients

  • 1 cuisse de poulet
  • 1 1/2 c.s d’épices mélangées (céleri, ail, oignon, paprika…)
  • 1 c.c d’herbes italiennes
  • 1 c.c de sel
  • une bonne pincée de poivre noir
  • une bonne pincée de sucre brun
  • 1 petite gousse d’ail (optionnel)
  • une noix de beurre (optionnell)
  • une grosse poignée de petites pommes de terre
  • huile d’olive
  • quelques brins de romarin
  • sel de mer et poivre noir fraichement moulu

Étapes:

  1. Préchauffez votre four à 200°C.
  2. Pendant ce temps, mélangez les épices: le mélange, les herbes italiennes, le sucre, le sel et le poivre. Appliquez ce mélange sur les deux côtés de la cuisse de poulet en massant la peau. Recouvrez la de papier film et laissez reposez pendant le reste de la préparation.
  3. Rincez les pommes de terres et coupez les en deux. Vous pouvez dessiner des entailles dans leur chair de sorte qu’elles absorbent mieux l’huile d’olive. Assaisonnez d’un filet d’huile, de brins de romarin et de sel de mer. Mélangez bien de sorte qu’elles soient toutes recouvertes. Placez les au fond d’un plat de cuisson allant au four.
  4. Puis, coupez la gousse d’ail en deux. Faites deux entailles dans la peau du poulet et inserez les deux moitiés d’ail entre la peau et la chair. (Cette technique permet à l’ail d’infuser la viande en pouvant être retiré avant de déguster le poulet).
  5. Placez la cuisse de poulet dans le plat avec les pommes de terre, et ajoutez une noix de beurre dessus juste avant d’enfourner.
  6. Faites cuire le poulet pendant environ 45 minutes, en mélangeant les pommes de terre en milieu de cuisson. Le poulet est prêt lorsqu’il libère du jus clair après être piqué par la pointe d’un couteau.
  7. Assaisonnez le poulet et les pommes de terre avec le jus de cuisson et l’huile au romarin. Bon appétit!

2 thoughts on “Passion Project: Dry Rubbed Chicken Roast with Rosemary Potatoes

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