As I continue to delightfully eat my way through Stonewalls’ new menu, I stop and see something that makes my heart stop! Something that I create for myself and my son at least three times each week; a dish that I have honed and come to master on the BBQ, on the Charcoal smoker, on the rotisserie, over the beer can and in the oven. Something that I dare anyone to create better than I can! The simple, yet incredibly scrumptious and always juicy, Roasted Chicken (queue the trumpets)!
What nerve to put such a commoner’s dish on their menu and offer both dark AND white meat options. It is something that so many people botch by drying out the succulent white breast in an attempt to ‘cook it thoroughly’.
You see, when cooking a half or quarter chicken, many people get flustered as the breast portion typically entails far less heat during the cooking than any of the meat that is close to the bone. The process requires a perfect balance of cooking the meat thoroughly to the bone, while not overcooking it so as to maintain the moist white center with just enough juice that should ooze as you cut into it. This is one of the reasons I love barbequed chicken. I almost always use the reverse grilling technique that keeps the flame low enough to cook the meat, yet the higher heat from the opposing burner always leaves the skin extra crispy.
As if that was the only thing that goes into making a perfectly roasted chicken, pishaw! I won’t even talk about separating the skin or the PERFECT combination of spices for chicken….however I digress.
Normally I’m a dark meat kind of guy; however with my penchant for the perfect roasted chicken, I went with the white, almost as a test for the Stonewalls chefs. The dish arrived steaming and that sent up the red flags, indicating too much heat. It was definitely a healthy portion, no skimping on size. As I made my first cut into the swelling breast, I didn’t see any juice, it continued to steam, but the colour looks perfect, white with just the slightest pink hue. The true test, the taste: while it was not juicy, it certainly was not dry by any means and had an incredibly delicious flavour.
As I continued to eat my way around the bone, I saw that it was both cooked thoroughly and evenly. One of the difficulties of crisping up the skin is that oftentimes there is a good amount of fat underneath the skin that prevents it from crisping, not the case this time. While I wouldn’t call the skin crispy, it was not limp, was full of flavor and complimented the meat well. It is a rare occasion, even when I make white meat, that I don’t add any salt and this chicken was so chock full of flavor that I left the sodium at the side of the table throughout the entire meal, the quality of bird stood up for itself.
The breast was placed on a pillow of mashed potatoes, not to be confused with Stonewalls heavenly ‘garlic-mashed’ potatoes and a side of ribbon carrot strips, string beans and broccoli. Of the three, I am usually only a fan of the broccoli. In my previous blog, the carrot ribbons were sautéed to perfection and melted in my mouth. This time around, many of the vegetables were just slightly undercooked for my liking, but to their defense, I chose to order this meal immediately after a group of about 50 people arrived for a retirement party (in addition to other patrons) and I imagine that the kitchen was a little bit backed up.
Overall, this was a wonderfully hearty meal with the standout being the flavour of the meat itself. Allow me a ‘tip of the hat’ to Stonewalls for a well cooked chicken, with outstanding flavour; a far cry from the fast-food curled up, crunchy bird that you get at many of the sit-down chicken chains.
I would definitely recommend this to any of my fellow chicken lovers (us health nuts!).
Recommended Beverage: Wayne Gretzky Estates Riesling
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