a whole roasted chicken in a pot, about to be carved

When I was a kid, Mom would splash out on a capon once or twice a year. They are almost impossible to get now, because modern farm practices are not lending to that kind of breeding, but I have had them, and can keep in mind the qualities I seek in a bird

This recipe is so simple and minimal, with so little else going on, that the quality of the meat almost entirely dictates the result of the dish. This being the beginning of farmers’ market season in my area, I have access to meat fine enough to stand up to this recipe.

Choose a bird that fits your soup pot. Always keep in mind the vessels you must use to prepare your food in. Get the nicest possible bird. Any will be good, but having had exceptional, I would like you to enjoy it as much as we did.

Blanching the chicken causes the skin to become terribly fragile. It rips at the merest glance.

I lifted my chicken out of the poach by inserting a long spatula in each end. It is very important to drain as you lift, it can be dangerous and messy if the water inside the bird spills.

Having used many types of fat for larding over the years, our best results were from thinly sliced unsalted leaf fat. Chicken fat has too low a melt point, salted fat alters the flavor and texture of the skin and meat.Neapolitan Roast Chicken (2)

  To make a Fine Roast of capons, cockerels, goat kid, and any other meat. First, if it is a large joint of meat, put it to boil unless it is young veal; if it is capon or any other meat that is worth setting to roast, make it clean, then plunge it into boiling water and take it out immediately and put it into cold water -that is done to make it better; then lard it with good lardo and mount it on the spit, cooking it slowly; then, when it is almost done, get a grated piece of bread and mix it with salt and coat the meat. In this way you will have it cooked fine.

1 large roasting chicken, well cleaned.

1 pot of water, simmering (with head room for the mass of the chicken)

3-4 oz thinly sliced leaf fat or sliced chilled chicken fat

3 oz breadcrumbs (home made)


other seasonings you might like.

Blanch the chicken. It really does matter. If you have never done it before, please take the effort to try it once. It was done for humoural reasons (making a “hot dry” bird “cool moist” before roasting¬† “hot dry”)

Place the chicken in the roasting vessel, reserve the poaching water.

Lay the fat overtop of the skin. Maybe tuck a couple of pieces under the skin. I did, and I am glad, but be careful.

Place the unsalted chicken in the oven and roast til it is very nearly done.

Season the breadcrumbs while the chicken roasts. Use at least salt,

When you can smell it, pull the chicken out and sprinkle it liberally with the breadcrumbs.

Pop it back into the oven for the last 10-15 minutes, then when you pull it for the last time, allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Carve and serve, placing the carcass in the poaching pot to make a lovely broth for future use.

I hope your dinner is as lovely as mine.

Sent Sovi 91; Chickens

I will find nearly any excuse to roast a chicken. It’s so ingrained in my mind that it can be hard to talk myself into poaching one.

The idea of poaching in almond milk had been rattling around; I had been challenged to make a soup, and this had been one of the possibilities I had entertained.

The recipe calls for a pound of almonds (keep in mind the 12 ounce pound as opposed to the more modern 16 oz pound, though it’s less of a requirement to be precise with this recipe than some), which are boiled to slip the skins. The almonds were far less plump and giving than when they soak overnight, but the skins slipped easily and they did give enough almond milk to do the job. Often almonds are milked after a long soak, it was nice to have an excuse to use the expedient boiling method.

all of the ingredients needed for the dish measured and laid out; a bowl with almonds and saffron, a tin of saffron, a chicken, and some broth, not called for, but on hand for in case of lacking almond milk.

I broke out the saffron!

The almonds went through the blender with the parsley. This does make quite a different texture than that of a mortar and pestle, but health makes its own demands. don’t have the endurance required for pestle work.

I pressed the solids to get as much milk as I could, and it came up the color of a shamrock shake. It was honestly kind of scary looking.

a strainer contains the solids, the pot beneath the almond milk. It is a disconcerting shade of green, more a candy color than a broth shade.

almond milk. really.

Once this broth came to a low simmer, I added the chicken and popped a lid on top.
When it finished, the leg quarters fell off and were tender as can be, but the breast was moist and not in any way dry or stringy. It had a mild, clean flavor.
The green broth browned to a far less appealing color, nothing I could think of could save the appearance. The saffron brought it even further into the browns, unfortunately.
two chicken leg quarters in a bowl, in about an inch of broth. The broth, no longer a candy green, now has a brown and gold note to it.

tender, but no longer as vivid a shade of green.

The leftover was moist and pleasant, with a soft and refreshing flavor.

3 oz almonds
3 oz fresh (not dry) parsley)
1 chicken
a little saffron, if you wish
1 pot with snug lid

-not such a pretty service sauce, doesn’t really make a soup.
-needs to be well tended; over or under-poached chicken is sad and depressing
-makes it harder to repurpose bones for broth (almond allergy is common)
+ cheap ingredients
+ quick-fix almond milk
+ no undesirable chicken bits

Next time I make this, I will try soaking the almonds the night before, to see if the yield affects the product.