Otherwise known as “when pigs fly.” And fly they did. So last week, I get an e-mail from The Neighbor Wife. She wants to know if I want to get together over the weekend to cook a bunch of dinners for the week. I rubbed my eyes, blinked a few times and checked to make sure the drink in my glass was, indeed, apple juice and not something stronger. Yes, folks, The Neighbor Wife has come over to the dark side. Took her long enough, didn’t it?
Sunday afternoon came and in less than two hours, we made four dinners, doubled, setting ourselves up for a very easy week. The first two dishes we did took virtually minutes to assemble and get into the oven … Roasted Sausages and Potatoes and Psycho Chicken. While those dishes hummed away in the oven, we each set to work on two more dishes, these a little more labor intensive … a Lasagna from Emeril and an Enchilada recipe. By the time we were done, each family had 4 dinners for the grand total of $40, not to mention the extra time it bought us during the week, when nights can get a little hectic. And that folks, you know, is priceless.
During the week, I’ll share the lasagna and enchilada recipes, but in the meantime, Psycho Chicken. Named for the slashes you make in the chicken, this one is a tried-and-true that has been floating around the Cooking Light bulletin board for many years now. This was the first time The Neighbor Wife has made roast chicken, and I think it’s safe to say she was surprised by how easy it was to make.
Minutes to assemble, and only a few ingredients needed, this is a great recipe to have on hand that produces a terrifically moist chicken … just add some vegetables (mashed potatoes would be perfect) on the side and you have super simple comfort food meal that will please everyone at your table.
Whole chicken (a small one)
Approx 1-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Approx 1 tablespoon garlic, pressed
Approx 1 tablespoon cider or malt vinegar
Dry white wine (sauvignon blanc works well)
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Clean chicken and remove giblets. Hack chicken all over with the tip of a sharp chef’s knife to make gashes. (Invariably I find the music to the shower scene in Psycho running through my mind, thus the name, Psycho Chicken– and lest you think I am thoroughly deranged, this manner of slash and season is actually very common in Cuban cooking.)
In a small bowl, mix together thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar, and slather liberally on chicken, taking care that mixture gets into slits in the meat. Place chicken on rack in roasting pan (if you don’t have a rack, no biggie– throw the thing directly into the pan) and roast about 2 hours until golden and fragrant, basting every twenty or thirty minutes with a splash of wine and any juices in the pan. Your house will smell wonderful.
Now this is the crucial part, which will make or break the entire dish: If this is cooked properly, your chicken should be running with wonderful juices as you carve. Dredge each slice of carved meat in those juices before placing on platter– the juices are loaded with garlic and herb flavor.