When most cook at home, to prepare an eight recipe meal for a gathering, they most likely start in the wee hours of the morning. Well, We had about two hours. Especially tricky because dealing with poultry and produce you have to assure certain steps are taken to cook the product thoroughly due to a higher risk of food borne illness.
Not only working individual technique and preparing our recipes, we had to work as a unit, a team, a well oiled machine of communication to accomplish such a daunting task. This was a very enlightening experience, as well as a confidence boost when we got all our dishes plated in time. Time is not your friend and we’re quickly learning that.
The chicken was done a few different ways, grilled, pan fried, roasting, and the veggies were prepared similar different cooking methods. I took on the roasted chicken and the eggplant.
I had never even tried eggplant much less cooked it so that was a it of a learning curve. I read up on it before hand and learned before frying eggplant one can salt the eggplant flesh to bring out the moisture before frying. If you don’t, the eggplant steams instead of fries, and can become mushy.
When roasting a chicken or a bird everybody loves the wishbone. It’s the fortune cookie of thanksgiving. However, when dressing the poultry beforehand, you should remove the wishbone because there is a great deal of meat behind it that cannot be accessed while carving if you don’t remove it. Instead of stuffing or dressing, we did aromatics that added flavor and moisture. Lemon, pepper, garlic, rosemary, and lining the skin with butter bastes it while it cooks. One, gives it rich juicy flavor, also gives it a beautiful golden brown color and presentation.
After this week I feel much more confident that I won’t always have to fry a turkey for thanksgiving, and actually I want to tackle an old school oven bird for the holidays.