Tuesday, May 13, 2008

neglected chicken with veloute' sauce

My dog Pebbles has a cold. She keeps sneezing and seems to feel pretty lousy. It is funny when she sneezes since she is a dog and has no manners as all. When she sneezes, everyone knows!
I wanted to make her some chicken soup, I feel so badly that she is sick. I decided against the chicken soup since she is a dog. I am sure she would love homemade chicken soup but I think it might be a little over the top to make chicken soup for my beagle with a cold. Those beagles are spoiled enough.

Instead, I roasted a whole chicken for Mr. Anderson and I to have for dinner. The weather for April and May seem to have switched on the eastern shore of Maryland. We are enjoying ALOT of rain and cooler temperatures now and we had a rather warm and relatively dry April. I heard the radiators in my house kick on last night and the thermostat is set at 55 currently. Anyhow, cool, rainy and blustery is perfect weather for roasting a whole chicken! I keep my chicken very basic. I rub it with butter, season with salt, pepper, and thyme inside and out and then roast it on a rack in a roasting pan at 375 for about an hour. I like the skin dark and crispy. I made a chicken veloute' sauce to go with it since pan gravy seemed too heavy and greasy last night. Veloute' sauce is one of the 5 mother sauces of classical French cuisine. I think once people hear that, they are scared to make it! It is very easy to make and is so worth the minimal effort! I first learned to make it in culinary school and love it. It is simply a light stock thickened with roux and seasoned with salt and pepper. Simple and really very tasty.

Chicken veloute'
2 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of AP flour
2 tablespoons of butter

Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat and melt the butter without coloring at all. Add the flour and whisk cooking for maybe 2 minutes, again without darkening the butter or flour. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock a 1/2 cup at a time. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer until reduced by about 1/3. Season with salt and pepper (white pepper preferably) and serve. Update: I have to amend this to say that I actually served what is known as a sauce supreme and that is a veloute' with a couple of tablespoons of cream whisked into it at the end. I neglected to bore anyone reading to tears with the fact that veloute' sauce is rarely served as is but there are several daughter sauces made from it. That is a big part of culinary school - learning basics from which can be made more difficult or involved dishes.

I bought some fresh herbs at the church May Fair last weekend or so ago. This lemon thyme smells and looks so lovely. I know I need to move it outside but I am enjoying the fragrance in my kitchen so much. I also bought some lovely lavender, basil, parsley and dill.

While the chicken was roasting, I started a new book called Julie and Julia. It is humourous and an easy read; I must have breezed through 100 pages in an hour last night. This is one of my favorite things about roast chicken and that is it requires little involvement from me and I am free to read or sew or clean. In fact, neglect for an hour is the best thing for roast chicken.

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