Sunday, 7 October 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner...Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Grape Sauce, Buttery and Sweet Acorn Squash, Smashed Herbed Potatoes and Mini Classic Apple Pies

Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Grape Sauce


whole chickens, about 1 kg
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
6 fresh sage leaves
head of garlic
½  kg red seedless grapes


Position racks in centre and lower third of oven. Preheat to 375F. Have a large roasting pan and a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment ready. Wash chicken and pat very dry with paper towels. 
Place breast-side down, on a cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone from end to end and remove. 
Flip chicken breast-side up, and open like a book. Press firmly on the breastbone with your palm to flatten.
Mix butter with salt and freshly ground pepper in a small bowl. Loosen skin of each chicken at neck-cavity end with a finger. Spread 1/2 tsp butter mixture under the skin, reaching in as far as possible. Gently push 2 or 3 sage leaves under skin on each side of breast, keeping leaves flat. 
Rub skin all over with remaining butter mixture.
Arrange chicken  on roasting pan. Slice garlic in half horizontally. 
Place between chickens. Using a potato masher, gently mash half of grapes just until the skins burst, and scatter around chickens. Add remaining whole grapes.
Roast chickens in centre of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165F, about 1 hour. 
Transfer chickens to a cutting board. Cover with foil to keep warm. Remove garlic from pan. Pour mashed grapes and pan juices into a medium saucepan. Squeeze in garlic. Reserve some whole grapes. 
With hand held blender, puree mixture. 
Add whole grapes. Gently boil.
Cut chicken into portions and serve with grape sauce.

Buttery and Sweet Acorn Squash


1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar


Turn acorn squash upside down onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 oven until it begins to soften, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
Remove squash from the oven and turn onto a plate so that the flesh is facing upwards. Place butter and brown sugar into the squash, and place remaining squash over the other piece.
Place squash in a baking dish (so the squash wont slide around too much) while baking.
Place squash in the 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven and bake another 30 minutes.
Scoop roasted squash into a bowl and mix well. 

Smashed Herbed Potatoes


1 kg large Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Quarter potatoes and rinse.
Cover with cold water in a pasta pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until fork-tender, about 25 min.
Whisk oil with Dijon and salt in a large bowl.
Drain potatoes and cool slightly. Break up into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon and stir into oil mixture along with parsley. Serve warm.

Mini Classic Apple Pies


Pie crust

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ to ½ cup ice water
1 egg yolk


4 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 6 cubes


To make the crust, blend the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
With the processor running, slowly pour in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Do not overprocess. Remove the dough from the processor and mix by hand until well blended.
Roll out the dough to ¼" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut six 6" circles from the dough.
Set the remaining dough aside to decorate the tops of the pies as desired. Press each circle into the bottom and up the sides of a 4" ramekin.
Refrigerate until ready to fill. Preheat the oven to 425°F. For the filling, combine the apples, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.
Spoon the pie filling evenly into the prepared ramekins and top each pie with a cube of butter.
Cover with the remaining dough and decorate as desired. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until juices begin to bubble.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until juices begin to bubble.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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