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zuni roast chicken

having eaten at zuni café when we were in san francisco, i decided i needed to try the zuni method for roast chicken.

it requires some forward planning – ideally you want quite a small bird which you need to salt and leave at least overnight. i wasn’t that organised, having focussed more on using up the chicken that was sitting in my freezer, so my bird was a bit big and i didn’t have time for the 2-3 days of salting that was suggested for this size of chicken (overnight was what i managed).

the cooking method is different to what i would normally do – the chicken is cooked at a much higher temperature, for a shorter time, presumably to maximise the moistness of the meat. there are various turning-over and other stages – i used smitten kitchen’s notes to guide me through.

the result was a very delicious and tender bird which david and i really enjoyed – the chicken flavour was intense and the skin had a particularly good salty crispy flavour.

however, and it is a big however, i also ended up with a filthy oven (which i’d recently cleaned, weep) and a house that reeked of roast chicken for several days despite the fact that i’d cooked this on a warm day with doors and windows open. the problem is that the high temperatures means the chicken fat splatters its way all round the oven and creates a lot of smoke.

i can live with a roast-chicken-scented house (make sure you don’t have any laundry drying nearby otherwise it too will smell of chicken; that’s another lesson learnt) but having to clean the oven after making this is a step too far. and you do need to clean it. having wiped down to remove all the greasiness, but not done a full clean, i made roasted peaches - very sadly these had a smokyflavour, with a hint of chicken. truly dreadful and absolutely gutting as i’d looked forward to eating them so much.

as a result, i will be putting the zuni method back in the drawer for days when the oven is already trashed (belly pork and lamb shoulder are the usual culprits) and a little more grease 'n smoke won’t hurt!

Reader Comments (2)

Did you know that there's an oven cleaning company that will come and return your oven to its former glory for remarkably little, while you lounge about peeling and eating grapes? AND they use ecologically-sound products, don't make a mess, etc etc etc.
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlillyanne
I should check that out,thanks!
June 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

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