As promised, I’m trucking through the Make it Ahead Cookbook, and so far, so good.
I made sour cream cornbread to take to a Halloween party, to be served with chili. It was easy to make, not dry, and I think it got gobbled up by all of the party-goers. It wasn’t super-flavorful, which isn’t a bad thing when it’s served with something like chili. Instead of the loaf pan version listed in the original recipe, I used the 9×13 version described in a different part of the cookbook. Loaf pans and I don’t always play well together, but being from the upper midwest, it’s in my DNA to be able to work a 9×13 pan to my advantage.
I also made the roast chicken with bread, which is supposed to be served with an arugula salad, but the salad mix from our CSA turned out to be pretty wilty and gross, so I ended up serving it with green beans instead. Never fear – I’ll be making it with the salad soon enough, because I can’t wait to make this chicken again.
Like most of the roast chicken recipes in the Contessa canon, I needed to cook it for an additional 15-30 minutes than what the recipe said, even though the oven was set to 500 degrees (!). I factored my usual need to extend the roasting time into my plan for dinner time, and it all worked out just fine. I think the secrets to the greatness of this chicken were: the smashed garlic and fresh thyme under the skin, and the direction to flip the bird (heh) about halfway through the cooking time. That way, the white meat did not dry out. And the bread – oh, the bread. The recipe calls for roasting the chicken directly on top of four thick slices of bread, placed in the bottom of a skillet. I used a sourdough loaf from the Whole Foods bakery. I was a little worried at first, because the bread all looked burnt to a crisp, especially the parts that were not directly under the chicken, but we were able to salvage plenty of it, and it was so, so good. I’m sure the American Heart Association would not endorse this recipe, because all of the lovely chicken fat just dripped down on to the bread. But oh, that bread. I may have dreams about it.