Thursday, September 8, 2011


Concord Grape Glazed Spatchcocked Poultry

Ok, the name is funny, but this is serious cooking. Spatchcocking poultry is the process of removing the backbone and sternum of a bird. The bird is then flattened out by pressing on it. The result is a bird that cooks evenly, quickly and without drying out the breast.

Spatchcocking is easy and takes only a few minutes and either a very sharp knife or really good kitchen shears. While the process is simple and easy, the time saved in cooking equals big payback. Because the turkey is butterflied, the heat is more evenly distributed and a 12 pound turkey will take about 1 ½ hours to roast versus a whole turkey will take over 3 hours to roast. A whole chicken takes about 30 minutes to roast while a whole chicken takes an hour.

Whole roasted chicken and turkey are a reasonable possibility for dinner on weeknights. No more slaving over the stove waiting for dinner and a moist, luscious dinner is moments away. No more v-racks, beer cans and other contraptions used in an effort to roast the perfect bird. Just you, a bird and sharp knife.
This year for the chagim, try Spatchcocking and see if you don’t fall in love with a silly word that means serious cooking.

Serves 4+

For the chicken

1 3 1/2 pound chicken
3 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, rough chopped
2 large carrots, rough chopped
3 celery ribs, rough chopped
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 450

1. Place the chicken breast side down on a sturdy cutting board. I like to put a couple of paper towels under the chicken so it does not slide while I am cutting it.

Cut along either side of the backbone from the neck to the tail. Remove the back bone and spread open the turkey. Cut a small slit in the cartilage along the breast bone. With both hands, crack open the turkey by opening it like a book.

This will reveal the keel bone, (cartilage that runs in the middle of the breast.) Pull up on the keel bone to remove it. The bird is now ready to cook. This whole procedure is very simple, only involves cutting one bone and should only take a couple of minutes.

2. Place the chopped vegetables in a large roasting pan. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub the bird with olive oil and the chopped herbs.

3. Place the chicken on the vegetables, breast side up. (The vegetables will keep the chicken from sitting in its juices and getting soggy. The vegetables also scent the chicken drippings)

4. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 325 and continue roasting, brushing with pan juices occasionally for an additional 20 minutes.

5. Brush the chicken with the concord Grape Glaze and continue roasting for another 10 minutes, brushing with the glaze 2 more times.

6. Remove the chicken and tent with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting.

7. Discard the vegetables and reserve the drippings. Skim off the fat and set aside.

8. Serve the chicken with Concord grape glaze and butternut squash mash and sautéed kale.

Concord Grape Glaze

The smell of fresh Concord Grapes is intoxicating. It is similar to an orchard of fragrant blossoms. The flavor of fresh Concord grapes is fresh, crisp and clean with a balanced sweetness. Fresh Concord grapes are a world apart from their canned, jellied and jarred counterparts. The processed grapes are cloyingly sweet with none of bright freshness so much a part of the fresh grapes. This Concord grape glaze is an aigre doux (sweet and sour) sauce with aromatic attitude. Sweet, sour and so fragrant, it is sure to become a family favorite. The sauce can be made up to 2 days before serving and complements the flavor of chicken or turkey. The glaze is amazing on duck as well.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes (optional)
5 cups fresh concord grapes
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
½ cup reserved pan drippings or chicken stock
Salt and pepper

1. Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallots and garlic and sweat the vegetables until they are soft and very fragrant (about 3 minutes).

2. Add the crushed red chilies if using and the remaining ingredients. Turn down the heat and cook the mixture until the grapes burst open and begin to thicken the glaze.

3. Remove from the heat and pass the glaze through a mesh strainer.

4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Concord Grape Sorbet

Concord grape sorbet is deep, gorgeous purple and bright and incredibly fresh tasting. I make a lot of sorbets and have been making them for years and this one is a favorite. It is probably the best tasting sorbet you will have.
Grab the fresh Concord grapes when they come into season this fall and serve this aromatic and rich sorbet at your holiday meals.

Yields 1 quart

2 pounds fresh Concord grapes
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon honey

1. Place the grapes, water and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Simmer the grapes until they start to fall apart (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from the heat before they gel-this happens quickly!

2. Strain the grape mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. You should have 3 cups of grape juice.

3. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and chill the mixture at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. Process the grape juice in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instruction.

Concord Grape Sparkler

Refreshing and as delicious as it is beautiful. Perfect for kids and adults. For an adult beverage, substitute Prosecco for the sparkling water.

Serves 4

1 pound fresh Concord Grapes + 3 tablespoons water
1 quart sparkling water
Lemon slices
4 teaspoons sugar

1. Place the concord grapes in a medium non-reactive saucepan with the water and simmer over medium heat until the grapes begin to fall apart (about 3-5 minutes).

2. Strain the grapes through a fine mesh strainer.

3. Place a lemon slice in each of 4 glasses and muddle with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

4. Divide the Concord grape juice between the glasses and add ice. Fill the glasses with sparkling water and serve.

5. Add a scoop of Concord grape sorbet as a side car for a refreshing treat.
Alternatively you can use Prosecco for this drink for adults. Delicious!